“Just doing her job”: Metro driver from Alki attacked in Tukwila

You may have heard the story already today – a 56-year-old Metro bus driver beaten unconscious while on the job, driving her bus in Tukwila early today. In some reports, like this one from KING5, the assault was somewhat overshadowed by the fact two police cars crashed while rushing to help. Tonight in the WSB Forums, member “breanna43” says the driver is her mom, an Alki resident, and asks for prayers. A news release from King County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. John Urquhart says:

The incident occurred just after midnight this morning (January 23rd). The Route 124 bus stopped in Tukwila at S. 144th and International Blvd [map] to let passengers off. A group of seven or eight youths gathered at the back door but only two got off before the doors closed. At least some of the group went to the front of the bus and the driver was punched in the head several times, knocking her unconscious.

Meanwhile two suspects kicked and hit the rear door of the coach, breaking glass and bending the door frame. All suspects then ran off. A Tukwila K-9 dog tracked the group to a house in the 13700 block of 45th Ave South. Eight people were detained. Eventually witnesses from the bus identified three people who were directly involved in the altercation. They were arrested.

All three were booked into the Youth Center, including a 15 year-old boy from Renton for felony assault. Two males were booked for felony vandalism, ages 16 and 17, from Tukwila and Kent, respectively.

Neither of the officers whose cars collided – one KCSO, one Tukwila Police – was seriously hurt; one was treated at the scene, and the other was treated at a hospital and released. The bus driver is at Valley Medical Center. In her WSB Forums post, the driver’s daughter writes, “What would be so hard about building metal enclosures to keep our drivers (and relatives) safe from physical attacks?” In a followup e-mail exchange, she tells us her mom’s been with Metro for 7 years, adding, “I’d just like to say that she is a strong person and was just doing her job. I pray that King County will review its policies regarding Metro drivers’ safety. My mom was defenseless last night. I appreciate all well wishes, and she will too.”

36 Replies to ""Just doing her job": Metro driver from Alki attacked in Tukwila"

  • Trisha January 23, 2010 (10:23 pm)

    breanna43n – I hope you mom is ok! She will be in my thoughts.

  • Restita DeJesus January 23, 2010 (10:36 pm)

    Many well wishes to Breanna’s Mom. It always astonishes and angers me that youths think they can just go anywhere they want to wreak havoc. Kudos to bus drivers, because they must have the patience of saints and have strong fortitude to deal with all sorts of people on their buses.

  • Dano January 23, 2010 (10:37 pm)

    This makes me so angry!!… My thoughts and prayers are with you and your Mom. Please keep the WSB informed as to how this goes. The young people who did this need to be held fully accountable.

  • Living in West Seattle since 1985 January 23, 2010 (11:34 pm)

    so sad!

  • Rose January 23, 2010 (11:43 pm)

    I hope the poor driver has a speedy recovery. I agree, drivers should really be behind a safe enclosure for their safety and the safety of riders. Additionally, of all the places where a stronger police presence would be beneficial, buses should be a priority.

  • Westie January 24, 2010 (12:03 am)

    Very sad. I hope the driver recovers quickly. What’s wrong with our youth? This reminds me of the Officer McKissack attack (and Tuba Man’s attack and death). How did our kids get like this? Should kids that assault like this be tried as adults? I’m ready to give up on them and put them away for 20 years if they demonstrate such massive contempt for others. I’m happy to pay the extra tax to keep them off the street and behind bars.

  • Traci January 24, 2010 (1:51 am)

    This is heartbreaking. I’m so sorry for your mom and hope her recovery is OK :(

    So, so, so sad.

  • Kyle January 24, 2010 (5:45 am)

    Good grief! This comes shortly after I’ve seen new signs posted in some Metro buses reminding the public that assault of Metro employees is a felony. I hope they try these “kids” as adults. After all, if you’re capable of beating an adult unconscious like that, you should be made to pay the maximum punishment. And don’t get me started as to why kids are like this today; we’d be here all morning.

    I do hope for the driver’s quick recovery. Metro operators put up with a LOT and they don’t deserve this kind of treatment at all.

  • lola January 24, 2010 (6:43 am)

    I am so sorry to hear about another attack on some one. I am glad they have caught someone for this henius crime. I do not know what goes through some of their young minds?

    I say if our youth does something like that they must join a military branch for the minimum 4 years, it might just kick some sense into their sensless brains.

  • E January 24, 2010 (8:28 am)

    Bus drivers are saints! Thank you to every one of them. I hope this driver recovers soon. This is so sad.

  • alki resident January 24, 2010 (8:42 am)

    Where abouts is she on Alki?We live on the beach ourselves and would like to offer our meals and transportation if wanted.Prayers are with you.

  • ridiculous January 24, 2010 (9:58 am)

    Very sad. I don’t agree with buses running all times at night for this reason. Most of the time these buses run at night with no one on them. They are wasting money and gas. And if its night shifts why are these drivers made sitting ducks like this. Why? To transport thugs downtown to sell drugs? Stupid. I fully support the enclosures. I hope she heals fast. Best thoughts to your mom and you.

  • AlkiResident January 24, 2010 (10:41 am)

    Oh my goodness. This is horrible. Breanna, please tell your mother that there are many people who wish her a speedy recovery. I’ve ridden Seattle buses for 19 years and care deeply about the safety of drivers – who are often wonderful, caring folks.

  • kg January 24, 2010 (11:19 am)

    Why would being forced to join the military act as a deterrent? Those who join to do not magically gain discipline and respect for society. There has to be a basis for it to start with. Besides, last I heard having a felony precludes you from joining.

  • dufus January 24, 2010 (11:40 am)

    Our family is thinking of you and your Mom, I hope she makes a full and speedy recovery. It is very disturbing and it is a sad day when we have to lock our bus drivers in cages to keep them safe — that is probably the smart thing to do, or something like that — but it certainly will make a lot of decent people think twice about taking the bus.

  • breanna43 January 24, 2010 (12:20 pm)

    Thank you everyone. She is doing ok. Woke up today much sorer (is that a word?) than yesterday. And facial bruising is setting in. She’ll recover pysically, but worries about how the trauma may affect her in the future. The kids that attacked her looked and acted no different than all of her usual riders before the attack, so she questions how she won’t be constantly fearful upon returning to work. Tough situation. What I am upset about now, is that neither Metro, nor her union, has even called ONE TIME to check on her or see if there’s anything she may need. She pays $100 union dues/month for what??? But thanks again everyone. I’ll encourage her to post and tell her story and I appreciate the offer of assistance to her from “Alki resident.” I’ll message you her whereabouts. She could definately use a meal delivered to her by caring people!

  • Sasquatch January 24, 2010 (12:39 pm)

    So sorry this happened! I feel strongly that kids need to be given harsh sentences when they put someone’s life in danger. Juvenile detention is a joke. In part, it’s a lack of conscious and maybe grandstanding that drives this distructive behavior. The kids only getting kudos from each other for being really bad a**. I’m guessing no validation from school or home.

    Hope your Mom heals physically and emotionally from this attack. It can take a while to feel steady after random violence.

  • Shibamom January 24, 2010 (2:23 pm)

    Dear Breanna. I am so sorry to hear about your mom, but so glad she’ll recover, at least physically. Hopefully she’ll get over the trauma with time. I know a woman Metro driver from Alki; we sometimes run into each other and walk our dogs together. Our dog (a big Shiba) adores her little sesame-colored dog. If this is your mom, my husband and I would be glad to take her dog for a walk with ours. I know she tries to walk her dog regularly and loves her alot.

  • Case sensitive January 24, 2010 (2:39 pm)

    @kg: I knew someone who was retired military say that if everyone had to serve in the military in their late teens early 20’s they would experience the power of a group but under the control of an officer. Military allows those bad asses to be bad but doesn’t allow them to become predators. Maybe some of these punks could learn to drive a bus.

  • Metro driver January 24, 2010 (3:22 pm)

    I’m a Metro driver and first I’d like to let my fellow union sister know that she is in many of her fellow drivers prayers… It could have been any one of us out there. I used to drive the night owls and trust me it is very dangerous. I had a guy at the same zone where this assault took place threaten to slash my throat and I’ve also had a guy threaten to rape me out there….
    The fact that we had a driver beaten bloody and hospitalized and not one Supervisor nor Base Chief has had the common decency to call and see how she is doing just blows me away…
    To her daughter please tell her we are thinking about her and wishing her a speedy recovery…. God Bless

  • GenHillOne January 24, 2010 (4:15 pm)

    Oh, Breanna, I’m so sorry. I met your mom once and was starting to put together that it might be her. Please let her know that we are thinking about her as well and wish her a speedy recovery – of health AND peace of mind.

  • Megan B January 24, 2010 (5:54 pm)

    @ ridiculous:
    Some people need those busses running all hours who *are’nt* drug dealers. Many of my decent, law abiding, co-workers have to take the bus after hours because we don’t get off of work until midnight– or later. How about servers at restaurants? These people who work at night often make a LOT less money and more than likely rely on the bus to get around.

    I’m thankful for all you Metro drivers for what you give to the community, and I’m appalled at this savage incident, but getting rid of night routes is not a good solution to this problem.

  • Catherine January 24, 2010 (6:31 pm)

    Wow, what a senseless crime. I’ll be praying for her speedy recovery.

  • Alkilicious January 24, 2010 (7:14 pm)

    The fact that Metro or her union have not called her is SO WRONG. She should be contacted, supported and offered a position on a safer route at a safer time of day. I think she’s at least earned THAT.

    My word. Some people. When did just being thoughtful and decent become so hard for employers?

    All my warm wishes to your dear mother, Breanna. And you sound like a very loving daughter.

    • WSB January 24, 2010 (7:21 pm)

      I will be checking with King County Dept. of Transportation/Metro spokespeople tomorrow on that side of the story, as well as the security questions that have been raised – TR

  • Andrew January 24, 2010 (8:36 pm)

    To Shibamom and all supporters: I love you Breanna(sister) I am the son of the victim. Shibamom, yes you are correct in her identity. She loves that sweet dog so much. I have e-mailed the president of the union about the safety of the drivers. I plan on doing whatever I can to get cages on metro buses. Other major cities have them and it is time we do too. It seems to the union, based on the number of incidents they cannot justify the cost of protecting drivers. If any decision makers walked in to the E.R. at 1:30 in the morning to find their mom abandoned in the hallway wearing restraints so she could not move her neck blood covering her face, and pretty much unconcious they may re-think the urgency to make these busses safe for drivers. The saddest part is that metro basically treats this as a workplace injury. And they have signs that read assault on bus drivers is a felony? Must happen enough to spend the %&#$%^& money to have those signs printed.

  • sgonzz January 24, 2010 (8:45 pm)

    Breanna I also drive for metro please let my union sister know my thoughts and prayers are with her

  • kg January 24, 2010 (9:15 pm)

    @Case sensitive:
    As a veteran myself I disagree with your friends idea. Our armed forces are better off as an all volunteer force. I don’t think I would want to do Iraq all over again with conscripts who don’t want to be in the service to begin with. Using the military as a dumping ground for troubled youth is a bad idea.

  • Another_Metro_Driver January 24, 2010 (10:09 pm)

    I was shocked and appalled to hear of another assault on our city buses. As a driver, we have to be aware not only of traffic, but of our passengers. I hope your mother makes a full recovery Breanna and Andrew. Hopefully Metro and our Union Brothers and Sisters will all pull together for her. Let us know if she needs sick time donated.

  • Shibamom January 25, 2010 (12:16 am)

    Thank you for letting me know, Andrew. I am so very sorry. I am grateful for the WSB. I watched for a news update online today and found nothing. A few stories mentioning the arrests, but nothing about your mother’s condition (though we knew through WSB she was okay physically, thank goodness). Maybe I missed something. If not, I don’t understand the lack of news coverage, or the fact that the union or Metro hasn’t been in contact! I’m glad WSB will be looking into some of this tomorrow. It’s nice to see other drivers speaking up here, too. Breanna and Andrew, thank you for keeping us all informed on behalf of your mother. Our dog loves your mom’s little dog, too. He doesn’t get along with too many dogs but he sure likes her!

    • WSB January 25, 2010 (12:55 am)

      Shibamom, I agree that this story deserves more coverage than it’s gotten – as I noted, the fact two police cars collided on the way to the scene somewhat overshadowed the fact that a bus driver was viciously attacked and landed in the hospital. Also, citywide media sources are more lightly staffed on the weekend, while on the weekdays, unless big things are happening elsewhere, a story like this would likely be picked up and followed. Maybe they’ll take it up today (Monday); regardless of whether they do or not, we will pursue followup info both re: driver safety and re: what happens to the suspect (will be a little more difficult since he is a juvenile but the prosecutor’s office usually can at least get us some information) – TR

  • Tonya January 25, 2010 (8:52 am)

    What a bunch of thugs! Why not call them what they are? “Youths”? They are thugs and I really hope they don;t get a slap on the wrist and probabtion.
    Clearly this was planned and there was nothing to rob, they did it for the thrill of it. I wish they’d show the faces of these @sses and make them walk up and down the street with signs that say I am an ignorant thug who beats up women for fun!

  • bettytheyeti January 25, 2010 (11:27 am)

    Why can’t “Mr. I can wear a gun in the park or at SW Pool during swimming lessons ” take a bus ride to Tukwila at midnight?

  • Lola January 25, 2010 (1:22 pm)


    How about this then instead of the slap on the wrist, have some kind of their own military place for youths and thugs to get the disipline they so seriously missed. I am just tired of reading how they get to still wander the streets after such a crime.

  • Vic January 26, 2010 (8:06 pm)

    These “youths,” that nearly beat to death the helpless and unarmed 56 year old female transit driver, in reality, are SEWER RATS!!!!

    SOLUTION: How about good ole groups of VIGILANTES, to hunt down these roving, night time, sewer scum rats!!!!

  • anon February 10, 2010 (11:57 am)

    Some folks are all for putting exactly the wrong person in a cage. Why should this or any driver have to do their daily job in a cage?

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