|Here is Jeff Roberts side of the story|
I took a huge step yesterday. After more than a year of thought and soul searching I made a decision for me, and with my beautiful wife's support I retired from Tri Met. I did not take this decision lightly. I felt like I could no longer work for a company that did nothing to curb assaults on it's employees. I also can no longer work for a company that doesn't back it's employees when it comes to informing the passengers of the rules.
I worked for Tri Met for over 18 years. I planned on tri met being the place I retired from. But because of the way trimet has become towards it's employees and the employees safety I had to make my decision.
I had a verbal altercation with a passenger at the end of August. Here is my side of the story.
I was pulling into the end of the line at city hall in Estacada. I was not at a complete stop yet and 2 passengers started pushing on the back door and yelling back door, back door. I was driving a new bus and the back doors have a safety lock that if you push on them before the green light is on they lock and will not open.
After I got stopped I informed them that they needed to exit the front because you jammed the back doors. As they were walking to the front of the bus Josh Powell was yelling that he wanted my name and badge #.
I told him he didn't need that information. As they were exiting the bus one of them said "I should hit his bitch ass". I said excuse me as I was getting out of my seat to do a walk thru. I stepped off to let a waiting passenger know he could board that I was leaving as soon as I did a walk thru. Josh started yelling and cussing that he wanted my name and badge #. I told him that he didn't need that information and that it was none of his business what my name was. He continued to demand the information and said he was going to have me fired. I got back on my bus to do a walk thru and as I was in the back Josh came in the bus still yelling and cussing that he wanted my name and badge #. Again I told him it was none of his business and to get off my bus.
He then told me he was going to call the police and trimet and claim I had assaulted him. I told him to go ahead this bus is loaded with camera's. I was starting to get very angry at this point and told him as I was walking to the front I told him he needed to get the fuck off my bus. As I got to the front he was still yelling and cussing and demanding my name and badge #. I noticed that he had a big spit ball on his tongue and I told him "if you spit on me I'm punching you in your face." He said do it, so I acted like I was going to and started laughing at him as I moved passed him and got in the driver seat.
He got off and I went to the door to board my passenger. He was still demanding my name and badge #. He stepped off the curb and started taking pictures so I used poor judgment and gave him a big smile with two bird's flying high. He then stepped to the driver window to continue taking pictures. I opened the window and he shoved his phone closer so I grabbed it and tossed it over his head. (this is so cool) At no time did I touch Josh. I left the scene and called dispatch.
Josh stated that his wife and child witnessed the event. At no point was his wife or child there.
I later found out that Josh is a convicted felon, for multiple assaults drugs and robbery.
I may not have used best judgment on some of the things I did but he would not go away. Yes I should have called dispatch sooner than I did but by the time that I could I was angry and not thinking about that.(those of us that have sat in the bus drivers seat understand, sadly the media just wants a witch hunt) The only thing I was thinking about was to get away from this fool.
If you feel like using judgment against me please don't comment. And also think about it this way I am human and we all make mistakes. If you think your perfect think again because nobody is. You can also think about what you might do if it happened to you but, till it does you never know what you will do.
I will miss working with a great group of people but will not miss the joke that the company has become. I will keep all the driver's in my prayers and ask God to keep you all safe.