DOCUMENT: Internet, Crime

Police Reports Detail Cleveland Bus Uppercut

Driver told cops he hit woman after she spit on him

Bus Punch

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Cleveland Bus Punch

OCTOBER 12--The Cleveland bus driver who delivered an uppercut to an unruly female passenger told cops that he struck the woman after she grabbed his throat and spit in his face as he was driving, according to police reports.

Artis Hughes, 59, was interviewed by officers shortly after the September 18 confrontation with Shi'dea Lane, 25, on a Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA) bus.

Video of the fight (see below) went viral online this week, prompting RTA officials to suspend Hughes, a 22-year veteran, and characterize his behavior as "absolutely unacceptable."

When cops responded to the stopped bus around 4 PM, Hughes and three passengers described Lane (pictured at right) as the incident's aggressor. Hughes told cops that Lane initially boarded the bus without paying, claiming, "I left my bookbag."

Hughes said that after Lane, a restaurant employee, eventually paid her fare, she told him, "You a Bitch and Your Momma's a Bitch Too!" She also reportedly stated, "Keep talking about me and I will spit on you!"

In a written statement, Hughes recalled that Lane "grabbed me in the throat and spit on me in the face." In response, the driver said he stopped the bus, "and I protected myself." The Hughes statement does not reveal that he hit Lane squarely in the jaw with a bolo punch that knocked her to the ground.

One witness told cops that a "drunk" Lane "got on the bus fliping out" and "started talking crazy" to Hughes. After spitting on Hughes, the witness wrote in a statement, the driver "did what he had to do."

A second witness wrote that Lane was "loud and obnoxious" from the start, and spit on Hughes and "started hitting him." The witness added, "That's when he hit her back." A third witness described Lane as "drunk" and reported that "she hit him and he jumped out of his seat and started fighting her."

When first interviewed by cops, Hughes said he was willing to prosecute Lane. But a week after the incident, he called a police detective to report that he "did not wish to pursue prosecution of the female suspect." He subsequently signed a "Refuse to Prosecute Form."

Lane was not arrested at the scene. In fact, following the confrontation, she was transported to the restaurant where she works by police officers.

According to her Facebook page, Lane, the mother of a four-year-old girl, loves "2 go to church," and considers herself "a people person." In a May posting, Lane wrote that she was trying to get “famous and rich,” and referred to “being shot and stabbed in ma face,” which “prolly messed me up from tryin to model.”

Seven years ago, Lane was shot four times during a robbery at the home of a male friend. During the bus fight, Lane’s injuries from the stabbing prompted Hughes to comment, “Look like somebody done sliced your face up.” (6 pages)