A message from the Metro driver attacked one week ago tonight

We just received a note from the Alki woman beaten unconscious while working at her job as a Metro bus driver in Tukwila one week ago tonight. She is out of the hospital but wanted to get this message out and is hoping you will answer her call for a sign of support:

I am keeping this brief because it is hard for me still to keep concentration but I am the Metro Driver involved in the assault almost exactly one week ago in one hour from now.

Dow Constantine is meeting with me at my home tomorrow [Saturday]. Change needs to be done. I will not say where I live, but I am in the Alki area and he is coming at 2 tomorrow, Saturday. He needs to know this sort of thing is unacceptable. If folks show up to the beach with signs and presence, I believe he will see that this does not just affect drivers, but the public as well. We need to keep pressure on for change.

If you can support her – send this around – use the Share This feature beneath this item, or right-click on the headline to get the URL for this so you can send it any way you choose. While she does not want to publicize her name or address, we believe it’s the central part of the beach district (Bathhouse vicinity). Meantime, as reported here Wednesday, a 15-year-old boy is now charged with assault in connection with the attack.

9 Replies to "A message from the Metro driver attacked one week ago tonight"

  • Mac January 30, 2010 (12:21 am)

    As a former Metro driver I am all for supporting this driver but what is this “change” she’s asking for? Putting cages around drivers just isolates drivers from the public and is not physically or financially viable. It’s a pipe dream that a small number of drivers put forth.

  • Mookie January 30, 2010 (12:31 am)

    Maybe the city could afford to give all the drivers stun guns? (Or at least make sure there are functioning cameras in each and every bus?)

  • Dow Constantine January 30, 2010 (3:34 am)

    As Executive and as a citizen of King County I feel a strong sense of duty to protect our public employees – bus drivers, police and others – who are out there serving the people every day. I began investigating the feasibility of outfitting the balance of the bus fleet with camera systems long before this tragic and outrageous attack, though it seems clear that cameras would likely not have deterred these attackers – only aided in their prosecution. As for whether physical barriers such as cages would help or hurt overall safety, there is a lot of debate among our drivers (as illustrated by the first comment above). They are the ones who are out there every day and the ones we need to listen to. I’m ready to move on whatever feasible measures can be taken to improve safety for drivers, passengers and the public generally, and I know the chair of the County Council has voiced similar sentiments. I talked with our injured driver over the phone six days ago from Washington D.C. (I’m just back and, as you can see, still on east coast time…) and expressed my concern and my wish to visit her at home upon my return if she felt up to it. I’ll be doing that today, to see how she’s coming along, to hear what she thinks should be done, and to share the concern and well-wishes of the people of King County. If you would like to contact me more directly please email dow.constantine@kingcounty.gov

  • bettytheyeti January 30, 2010 (8:39 am)

    The problem is not with the bus design but the thug. I can’t believe this juvenile didn’t show behavior tells before this. If he were a dog he would be put down. I would like his photo circulated. I doubt his act is singular to the bus. He is simply not allowed to live in our society. He is not safe. I have ridden buses in downtown Newark, NJ at midnight, and in that “social fabric” the riders quickly enforce justice to safeguard the driver and the only means of transportation they have.

  • itneverrainsinwestseattle January 30, 2010 (2:47 pm)

    I think bus drivers should have the right to refuse service to passengers. If the bus driver could have said, “I am not going to let you on the bus!” She would have not gotten attacked. I feel really badly for her.

    Going further with this, if I am riding a bus, and someone attacks the driver, what right do I have to intervene?

  • Carrie P January 30, 2010 (3:02 pm)

    I like that Dow Constantine reads WSB!

  • austin January 30, 2010 (4:56 pm)

    I also like that.
    re: itneverrainsinwestseattle- If you’re riding a bus, and someone attacks the driver, and you’re in an advantageous situation, by all means take the advantage. If you’re faced with a large gang of aggressive individuals and you’re unarmed, the better part of valor may be discretion. Personally, and as someone who doesn’t ride the bus unarmed, I would not hesitate to intervene on behalf of a bus driver being attacked, particularly in the case of older or women bus drivers. Knowing fully well that my lack of hesitation has put me both in hospital and jail in the past and could again, but also knowing that our bus drivers are in a very public and potentially dangerous position on a daily basis and deserve the support of metro riders whether it’s government-approved or not. If I’m ever jailed for beating a punk for attacking a metro driver, WSB will have the exclusive interview when I make bail.

    • WSB January 30, 2010 (5:11 pm)

      FYI all, we didn’t make it to Alki at 2 to see if anyone showed up in support but we drove by just after 3, on our way to one of about eight events we’ve dropped in on today, and happened to see two TV crews (7 and 13) interviewing the county executive. (They read this item and staked out the beach, apparently.) We parked and went over to ask him how it went. Have just published a short followup (going to add more of what he had to say about driver safety).

  • Mac January 30, 2010 (5:24 pm)

    @Mookie – There are so many people who have problems with authorities. If you arm an authority figure and then make them turn their back on potential assailants while they drive, you’re begging for more attacks. Drivers do best when they are non-threatening.

Sorry, comment time is over.