Video shows passenger swinging hatchet at Albuquerque bus driver

Surveillance video on board an Albuquerque city bus shows a driver narrowly missing being struck by a passenger who was swinging a hatchet. 

While no one was hurt, the bus driver was eventually suspended and ordered to retraining for the scuffle. 

The altercation took place on board an ABQ RIDE Rapid Ride bus in January as the westbound bus stopped on Central, just west of the intersection with Wyoming. 

Around 3:37 p.m., the video shows two passengers, a man and a woman, get on board the bus. Both passengers swiped bus passes, however, the male passenger’s pass did not work. Surveillance recordings capture the bus’ computerized ticketing system warning “card not valid.” 

At first, the driver can be heard telling the passenger, “you need another one.” 

As the passenger tried to show the driver his card, video shows the driver, Eric Miller using his thumb to point toward the seating area behind him, implying that the passenger should go sit down. Other customers were waiting to board the bus behind the man whose pass wasn’t working. 

Despite the free ride, the passenger had words with the bus driver. 

“OK? Don’t play that s***,” that passenger can be heard saying. 

The bus driver responded, “you better watch your mouth, boy,” then told the passenger to leave the bus as that passenger walked toward the back of the bus to sit down. 

After multiple calls for the passenger to leave, the man walked up the center aisle to the bus driver, saying, “what do you want to do?” 

The video shows the passenger getting face to face with the driver, then putting his bus pass in the driver’s face. 

“Get it out my face!” the driver said, before loudly shouting “get it out of my face!” and shoving the passenger to the ground. 

The passenger can be seen reaching toward his pocket, then pulling out a hatchet and swinging it at the bus driver. 

The driver dodged the hatchet swing and shortly after, another passenger disarmed the man. 

As the driver tried to use his phone, the passenger can be seen trading punches with the driver. Eventually, the driver and another rider kicked the passenger to the curb. 

City records obtained by KRQE News 13 show the driver was suspended for eight days without pay and ordered to undergo de-escalation retraining as punishment for violating city rules related to employee conduct and safety.  

Supervisors said the driver “took it upon himself” to get involved in the scuffle, which they said was “unnecessary.” KRQE News 13 has learned that the bus driver involved in the incident is still working for ABQ RIDE, but is no longer driving buses.

No one was hurt in the scuffle. The bus driver called police shortly after it happened, but officers never found the passenger who swung the hatchet. 

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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