May 08--Port Authority police are investigating two weekend incidents that injured bus drivers — a crash and an assault.
A Jeep traveling the wrong way in a buses-only lane on Fifth Avenue near the Birmingham Bridge in Oakland slammed into a 54 North Side-Oakland-South Side bus at about 11:20 p.m. Sunday, seriously injuring the Jeep driver and causing minor injuries to the bus driver and a passenger.
Earlier in the day, a woman spit on the driver of a 59 Mon Valley bus in a dispute over a stroller and then a man punched the driver several times in the face.
Authority spokesman Jim Ritchie identified the Jeep driver as John E. Walker II, 29, of Oakland. Video from a camera mounted in the bus's head sign showed that the Jeep was going the wrong way at a high speed and struck the bus nearly head-on. The bus was going 20 to 23 mph before the crash but had nearly come to a stop at impact.
Still, the collision was so violent it caused the floor of the bus to buckle, authority police Chief Steve McCauley said. "We don't see that very often."
Walker was trapped in his vehicle and had to be extricated. He was taken to UPMC Mercy in critical condition but later was upgraded to stable. The bus driver, whose name was not released, received minor injuries and also was taken to Mercy. An older passenger on the bus also received minor injuries.
No charges had been filed as of Monday but the investigation was continuing and charges are possible, Ritchie said.
In the other incident, which occurred about 9:30 a.m. Sunday, a bus driver insisted that a female passenger fold a baby stroller in accordance with Port Authority safety regulations and the woman either refused or said she could not fold the stroller. The driver refused to continue the trip and radioed for police.
The woman spit on the driver and a male passenger intervened in the argument and punched the driver in the face several times and ran away, Ritchie said.
The unidentified driver was treated at Jefferson Regional Medical Center for facial injuries. Police were searching for the assailant. The incident also was captured on video, he said.
Jon Schmitz: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1868.
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