Tense moments for the driver and dozens of passengers on board a city bus.
According to the city’s Department of Transportation Services, a group of young males were being chased by another group when they boarded a bus in Pearl City at around 12 a.m. Saturday. That’s when one of them outside started smashing the bus windows with a golf club.
“At first I was sleeping and all of a sudden, I hear people getting on the bus, yelling at the bus driver to go. They’re like really yelling at him,” said bus passenger Desiree Jasmine Mitsue Borge.
It was an experience that caught many passengers off guard. A bus on Route 40 heading west, suddenly coming under attack in Pearl City.
“A bunch of guys came on the bus. And there’s another group chasing after them,” said Borge. “And all of sudden I heard people with golf clubs smashing against the windows.”
On Saturday, KHON2 spoke to an official with the city’s Department of Transportation Services by phone. He said a group of six young males boarded the bus on Kamehameha Highway near Zippy’s Restaurant.
“When they got on the bus, they told the bus driver to leave quickly because they were being chased by others,” said Mike Formby, director of the city’s Department of Transportation Service. “So the bus driver shut the door and several other males approached the bus. He would not let them on. They got in front of the bus. And they started yelling at the group on the bus calling for at least one of them to get off the bus to come outside. The bus driver would not open the door. He honked his horn. The youth moved to the side. And he was going to move away and one of the youth outside of the bus started swinging a golf club and broke the driver’s side, the curbside window.”
According to Formby, the bus driver was able to move a few blocks down the road, where he pulled over and met police.
According to Borge, the bus was packed at the time of the incident. You can only imagine how frightening it must have been for some of the passengers, especially those who were sitting right next to the point of impact.
“All the people on the right side was the most scared because they were getting all the action,” said Borge.
The city says bus drivers are trained to handle these types of incidents.
“They’re taught that if somebody on the bus ever indicates a need for refuge or shelter from someone who might be after them, they have a process and procedure that they go through and that’s what this operator did. And that’s to not open the door and then to take the bus and proceed to a safe place,” said Formby.
The city also says the driver, a 35-year-old man, is relatively new. He began his training in October 2014.
“He really acted valiantly under the circumstances and protected the passengers that were on the bus from harm. Really did a good job. Should be commended for this,” said Formby.
The bus is equipped with surveillance cameras. Police released three short clips in the hope that someone can identify one of the suspects.
Honolulu police have classified this case as criminal property damage in the first degree. They are looking for a male suspect. So far, no arrest has been made.