EXCLUSIVE: Paterson bus drivers speak out about vicious attacks

Thursday, June 22, 2017 07:14AM
CeFaan Kim speaks to the victims of the attacks in Paterson.

PATERSON, New Jersey - A series of violent assaults in just over a month in New Jersey have several things in common. They all drive buses, they appear to be easy targets and they all carry hundreds of dollars in cash.

The most recent vicious attack in Paterson Tuesday night was caught on surveillance video as a man with a knife tried to rob a bus driver working for Spanish Transportation.

Stunned passengers watched the two struggle before the driver eventually fought him off. Two passengers then jumped in and held the suspect for cops.

Speaking exclusively to Eyewitness News, Eddie Rivera says his fear of attacks like this is why he has a dashcam.

"A passenger came with a knife, telling me give me the money, give me the money," said Rivera. "I begged him not to do it. I grabbed his hand to force the knife away."

The young father escaped unharmed.

But this is only the latest in a string of assaults on buses owned by Spanish Transportation.

Surveillance video of another incident on June 1st shows a suspect going for a joy ride with a stolen bus after robbing its driver at knife-point.

Another assault on May 17th left driver Jesus Sepulveda hospitalized for several days after he was brutally beaten.

"I thought I was going to die," Sepulveda said.

He suffered broken bones in his face, stitches in his lips, and head injuries.

The 69-year-old says he had just dropped off all his passengers in Passaic when a man boarded and started punching him without saying a word.

Sepulveda says he sped off as soon as the suspect exited his bus.

Police arrested that man as soon as he called cops, but he hasn't driven a bus since.

"My face is still numb from the pain," Sepulveda said. "I'm scared. I can be attacked at any moment."

Passengers on these buses pay their fares in cash which is why the drivers carry money on them.

The drivers also rent the buses from Spanish Transportation, so they're considered independent contractors.

Eyewitness News reached out to the bus company to see what they're doing to keep their drivers safe, but we have not heard back.
(Copyright ©2018 WABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.)