Bus driver accused of attacking passenger with metal rod for not wearing face mask

HOMESTEAD, Fla. – A dispute between a Miami-Dade County transit bus driver and a rider became violent over the wearing of a face mask, police say.

Bus driver Denys Santos, 48, was arrested by Monroe County Sheriff’s Office deputies and charged with aggravated assault after a rider said Santos attacked him with a metal rod.

Deputies say the victim boarded the bus in Key Largo just after 7 p.m. on Wednesday. The victim was wearing a required face covering to prevent the spread of coronavirus when he got on but admitted to deputies that he pulled down his mask to speak on his cell phone. The victim exited at Mile Marker 88, and alleges that Santos used a metal rod to point to a sign saying that masks were required.

A dispute ensued, and Santos followed him off the bus, swinging the metal rod, the victim told deputies. Santos drove away but was pulled over not far from the scene and was arrested. Deputies also found the rod.

Santos remains in Monroe County jail.

The Miami-Dade County Department of Transportation and Public Works released the following statement:

“The safety of our staff and passengers is always our number one priority and we take this type of incident very seriously. For this reason, we have asked Safeguard America Transportation, the private transportation company that runs our bus route from Miami-Dade to Monroe County, to remove Mr. Denys Santos from the contract while this incident is under investigation.

“We do not condone the alleged actions by Santos, and we will continue to work closely with our contractors to ensure they are implementing the highest safety and operational standards while under contract for Miami-Dade County.”

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