Witness recalls RTA bus fight caught on camera

9:52 PM, Oct 13, 2012   |    comments
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CLEVELAND -- An RTA bus driver has been suspended after cell phone video of a September 18th incident appeared online.

Artis Hughes, 59, is seen in the video punching an "unruly" customer. 

That customer is Shidea Lane, 25.  In the police report, Lane is listed as the suspect, while Hughes is listed as the victim. 

According to witness statements in the police report, Lane got on the bus saying she couldn't pay her fare. Hughes told Lane she needed to pay the fare or exit the bus.

Lane came up with the money for the fare and remained towards the front of the bus.

Passenger William Matthews says Hughes had asked Lane to step behind the yellow line.

The two began to argue as Lane, apparently ignored the driver's request.

"The bus wasn't that full.  There were seats, I don't know why she wouldn't pay and sit down," Matthews said.

The two can be seen yelling back and forth. At some point, witnesses say Lane threatened to spit in the drivers face, a threat she made good on.

"She grabbed him, started choking him... he said "you're going to jail now," no one expected what was coming," Matthews said.

Video shows what happened next.

Hughes uppercuts Lane and throws her off the bus. "She got up, took it like a woman... she got thrown, literally, he threw her off the bus," Matthews said.

Hughes, who has been suspended without pay pending the investigation, could not be reached for comment.

In his witness statement to police, he describes the events above. 

He acknowledges he says "he would hurt her," if she spit in his face as she said. He says he "stopped the bus" after she spit in his face.

He says he was only protecting himself. Lane did not return Channel 3's phone calls requesting an interview.


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