May 30, 2016

New Westminster Man Remanded in Custody after Assaulting Operator of Moving Bus

New Westminster – A New Westminster man, arrested by Metro Vancouver Transit Police for allegedly assaulting the operator of a moving bus, has been charged with Assault and remanded in custody.

At approximately 7:15 am, May 7, 2016, a Coast Mountain Bus Company bus operator was driving a large articulated bus southbound on Commercial Drive. He stopped the bus on the north side of East Broadway to let passengers off and then proceeded southbound again. A passenger sitting near the front of the bus moved up beside the operator and without warning punched him on the shoulder, with his hand bouncing off the shoulder and grazing the operator’s face. He then yelled to be let off the bus. The operator stopped the bus at the intersection, the suspect got off and was last seen entering the Commercial and Broadway SkyTrain Station. Transit Police were called.

The suspect boarded a SkyTrain and traveled to Scott Road Station where he then boarded a west bound SkyTrain to Columbia Station in New Westminster and got off the train. Transit Police officers located the suspect at Columbia Station and following a struggle, took him into custody.

Arrested and charged with Assault is Merle Henry Alexander, 36 years, resident of New Westminster, well known to police. Alexander was remanded in custody and is scheduled to make his next court appearance May 11, 2016, in Vancouver Provincial Court. The bus operator, who received minor injuries, was upset and extremely concerned by the suspect’s apparent disregard for the safety of passengers, pedestrians and vehicles in and around the bus. The loss of control of such a large vehicle at such a busy intersection could have proved disastrous.

As of the end of April 2016, 32 bus operator assaults have been recorded. This compares to 35 recorded in the same time period in 2015. While the numbers are down slightly, there are still far too many assaults of bus operators who are committed to moving their passengers safely from one location to another.

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