Teen thugs beat up bus driver

Posted: March 19, 2012

YESTERDAY WAS International Bus Driver Appreciation Day, but one SEPTA driver spent it recovering from a beating at the hands of a group of teens who had no appreciation for his life, let alone his job.

The driver was left with a broken nose and cuts that required stitches after the teens dragged him off the bus Saturday afternoon and pummeled him on a sidewalk.

Transport Workers Union Local 234 President John Johnson Jr. called the beating "disgusting."

"The worst part about it is it's not unbelievable anymore," he said. "It is believable."

According to police, about 1:45 p.m. Saturday, three boys - two age 17 and one 16 - got on the Route 52 bus at 52nd and Chestnut streets. While on the bus, the boys were cursing, being rude and generally engaging in "outlandish behavior," cops said.

When they got off the bus on Greenway Avenue near 54th Street in Kingsessing, one teen pulled the bus driver out of his seat and threw him off the bus and onto the ground, police said.

Once on the ground, the 45-year-old driver was repeatedly punched in his face by all three boys before they fled south on Greenway.

A passenger called police, Johnson said, and cops were able to nab the teens about two blocks away on Paschall Avenue near 54th Street.

They were charged with aggravated assault and related offenses. Their names were not released because they are juveniles.

The driver, whose name was also not released, was taken to Mercy Philadelphia Hospital.

A SEPTA spokeswoman and police said that the driver's nose was broken and that he required stitches to his forehead.

Johnson said the victim has been driving a SEPTA bus for about 10 years. Johnson has not yet been able with speak with him about Saturday's incident.

Still, Johnson wondered how SEPTA bus drivers, who are told to give service with a smile, can continue to do so under such conditions.

"How can I give service with a smile when I'm scared to come to work?" he asked.

Contact Stephanie Farr at 215-854-4225 or farrs@phillynews.com, or follow on Twitter @FarFarrAway. Read her blog "Philly Confidential" at www.philly.com/philly/blogs/dncrime.

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