EUGENE, Ore. -- Police are investigating after a woman was caught on camera assaulting other passengers on an Emerald Express bus. One of the victims is calling it a hate crime and criticizing the Lane Transit District, which operates the EmX buses, for not doing more to stop the assault.
The attack happened Tuesday on an EmX bus that was headed towards Springfield Station from Eugene Station. No charges had been filed by Thursday evening. A spokeswoman for LTD said they have identified the suspect and have banned her from the bus service.
Megan Peck, one of the victims, told KEZI 9 News that she was attacked by the woman because she is gay. Peck said she was looking out the window when the alleged attacker started verbally harassing her. Fifteen minutes later, the woman became violent.
Peck said she and her friend, who tried to intervene, were both attacked. Another woman was punched when she told the alleged attacker to stay on the bus until police arrived. No one was seriously injured, but Peck says she may have reinjured her wrist, which she broke prior to the assault.
She believes LTD could have done more to stop the attack.
“People in the front of the bus could hear her yelling at us and the bus driver kept going, and I feel like he should have stopped,” Peck said. “Because if he could have stopped, I don't think she would have had the chance to physically assault us."
The LTD spokeswoman told KEZI the bus driver followed their policy correctly. When an assault happens on a bus, they are instructed to move along to the very next stop and call dispatch ahead of time to notify police. The spokeswoman said passengers need to be the eyes and ears for the driver and let them know what's happening inside the bus.
“The EmX buses are 60 feet long,” said Therese Lang of LTD. “Oftentimes the driver, while he is trying to maneuver through traffic, can't be fully aware, particularly if something is taking place in the back of the bus which is where this incident took place.”
Eugene police are looking to speak to witnesses in the case. If you have any information, give them a call on their non-emergency line.