RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – The driver was attacked last night around 6:45 at the Missouri Avenue bus stop in Highland Park. GRTC is calling her a hero tonight for her quick thinking during a difficult situation.
We spoke to her by phone as she sat in the doctor's office this morning. She's bruised and shaken up, but says she'll be okay. Police are now on the hunt for the three men who attacked and robbed her.
As a driver, she deals with hundreds of strangers every day. But never did she think someone would get on her bus wanting to hurt and rob her.
It was a quarter to seven; she was stopped at Missouri and Highland. A man got on the bus and just stared. She told him he'd needed to pay if he wanted a ride. He started punching. Two more men with covered faces got on the bus and joined in taking her purse.
The driver managed to hit a secret emergency button that's located on all GRTC buses. It notifies GRTC headquarters. They called police.
"Can not reiterate how proud we are of our operator. She did everything that she needed to do. She's a little shaken up but we're taking care of her," said John Lewis, GRTC CEO.
No one was on the bus during the crime. GRTC leaders say they've never experienced a robbery like this before. Because of the driver's quick thinking, police arrived to help her within minutes. GRTC is now working with police to find the three suspects.
"We're going to do everything we can. We're going to put every resource we have to bringing these individuals to justice," said Lewis.
George Brown lives directly next to the bus stop. He and his neighbors are stunned.
"I'd never seen nothing like that. That's terrible," said Brown.
"It's a travesty - ridiculous and I hope the culprits be found and brought to justice. There are six cameras on every GRTC bus, this incident was caught on tape," said Quinton Wright, Richmond resident.
Police are working to get us the images of the three suspects. In the meantime, if you were in Highland Park between 6:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. yesterday and saw anything that could help police, call Crimestoppers at 780-1000.