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A Charlotte bus driver was attacked on the job, two months after another driver was killed

CATS currently has 56 hybrid diesel-electric buses like this one, but no battery electric buses yet.
David Boraks

Updated: 4:52pm April 15,2022

A Charlotte Area Transit System bus driver was attacked on the job this week, police said.

The 60-year-old woman was assaulted near Ashley Road at around 3:30 p.m. Tuesday and suffered minor injuries, according to Charlotte-Mecklenburg police. In an incident report, CMPD wrote that the driver did not know the accused attacker, who has been issued a citation for assault on a public operator. Police say the suspect is 26-year-old Essence Wilson.

Drivers have been urging city and transportation leaders to improve safety measures for drivers since driver Ethan Rivera was shot and killed while on duty Feb. 11. Police say the shooting that killed Rivera stemmed from a road rage incident.

CATS reported that there had been at least 59 assaults on operators between 2017 and April 14. The highest number of assaults happened in 2017 with 15, and 2019 had the lowest number at seven, with 14 assaults in 2021. The assault numbers included two operator shootings, Rivera’s death was one of them. CATS also did an audit of its bus fleet and replaced 11 defective radios.

Drivers urged Charlotte City Council members last month for more money and beefed up safety. Driver Renee Holzbach told council members that her nose was broken during an assault. And one driver told WFAE, “we’re a target sitting in that seat.”

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