PSTA driver assaulted, taken to hospital – no PSTA press release to local media

A bus driver driving a route for PSTA was allegedly assaulted yesterday on September 19th, 2023. The assault occurred some time before 9:00 A.M. and was apparently serious because the driver sought medical attention at a local hospital.

The suspect, shown in the picture on the right, had apparently not yet been apprehended at the time of publication of this article. PSTA’s RCC (Radio Communications Center) sent out an alert yesterday to screens that all drivers on all PSTA buses see, alerting them of the incident. One of those alerts is shown below.

Neither PSTA’s CEO Brad Miller nor its COO James Bradford were immediately available for comment. We submitted a public records request about the assault and when asked for further comment, Miller responded that PSTA “received the public records request and it is being responded to.”

PSTA’s communications and public relations staff never answer questions from the Guardian, so we didn’t contact them. That same PSTA communications and public relations staff also did not issue a press release to local media about the incident. But as shown in the below images, PSTA RCC says they are “working with law enforcement and forensics to investigate the incident and find the suspect who fled the scene.”

In 2021, a PSTA driver was punched in the face after he told a rider to wear a mask. In 2016, PSTA driver Mike Ralston (now retired) shared his story after also being punched in the face by a rider.

On May 18, 2019, a Hillsborough County bus driver working for that county’s transit agency HART was murdered in cold blood. Surveillance video and audio showed that the attack came like a lightning strike from a blue sky, and no motive was ever established. The attacker was sentenced to life in prison.

“Well, it looks like we have one more topic at the next board meeting: DRIVER SAFETY,” said one PSTA driver in a private Facebook group when commenting on yesterday’s assault.

This is a developing story, so please check back for more details. We don’t know what route the alleged assault occurred on, but based on the wood benches in the pictures, it may been on what PSTA refers to and brands as “trolleys” in the style of 100 years ago.

As always, the Guardian reports and the readers decide. Please like our Facebook page to find out when we publish our articles.

UPDATE: a suspect was taken into custody at 7:45 PM on September 20th, reportedly at the Largo Transit Center at the SW corner of US19 and East Bay/Roosevelt.