ESTACADA, Ore. -- TriMet is investigating claims that one of its drivers harassed an Estacada man on Tuesday.
Josh Powell says the driver swore and threatened him before breaking his smartphone.
Powell said the incident started when he and another rider attempted to get off a bus at the stop outside Estacada City Hall. As Powell tried to push open the rear door on the bus, he says the driver shouted, “You [expletive] idiots, you need to wait.’”
“And I look at him, and I’m like, ‘Can you pop the door?’” said Powell, recalling the incident. “And he’s like, ‘I already told you effing idiots, you need to wait.’”
Powell said the driver started arguing with the other man. At that point, Powell got off the bus and asked the driver for his name and identification number so he could file a complaint. Powell said the driver responded by saying, "No, F-you, get off the bus." Powell alleges that the driver threatened to hit him, too.
As Powell walked to the front of the bus, he says the driver gave him the middle finger. Powell took a picture that appears to show the driver doing just that. As Powell went around to the driver’s window to take another picture of the driver, things took a turn, according to Powell.
“He grabs my hands and my phone and grabs my phone across the street and shatters it. And breaks the phone. It was brand new."
Powell says he called police, who advised him to file a formal complaint with TriMet. Powell says he’s since done that. He also posted pictures of the driver and a description of what happened on his personal Facebook page.
In an emailed statement to KGW, TriMet public information officer Angela Murphy said:
“We were made aware of this [Facebook] post this morning and immediately launched an internal investigation. We have reached out to the gentleman who posted the complaint on Facebook and have helped him file an official report to further our investigation. As this is an active investigation we will not comment further on this incident.”
“Reports like these are alarming,” wrote Murphy. “The behavior this rider described is unacceptable by all TriMet standards. All of our employees are trained to comport themselves with professionalism and with our customers in mind. We absolutely do not condone aggressive behavior or the destruction of property.”
Powell, meanwhile, wonders what might have happened if the other customer, or anyone else on the bus, was potentially violent or mentally unstable. As for TriMet, he hopes they follow up with him.
“I’d like to get an apology from the guy, mainly. Don’t treat people with disrespect, you know?”