Sunline responds to attack against bus driver

Transit agency to install signs on all vans and busses to deter violence against drivers

THOUSAND PALMS, Calif. - Signs warning of criminal prosecution for anyone who inflicts violence on SunLine Transit Agency drivers are soon to be installed in its buses and vans, a spokesman said Monday.

The signs were in the works prior to a Sept. 21 attack on a SunLine driver who was punched when she asked a man boarding her bus on Highway 111 near Granada Drive in Indio to pay the fare, said SunLine spokesman Stephen Crane.

Joshua Wilson, 32, allegedly ran off after attacking the driver and was arrested the same day at Monroe Street and La Palmas Drive.

Roger Snoble, interim general manager of the Thousand Palms-based transit agency, released a statement Monday saying the driver was recovering and the attack ``was a senseless act that SunLine takes very seriously.''

``SunLine wants to reassure the public that this was an isolated incident and that both rider and employee safety is a top priority for the company,'' he said. ``More important, SunLine wants to reiterate to riders that this type of criminal behavior will not go unpunished.''  

The signs to be installed in SunLine's buses and vans will state: ``Don't touch the driver. Violence toward a bus driver is against the law. We will prosecute.'' 

Installing the signs ``was something we planned on doing for awhile ... it wasn't a reaction to (the attack),'' Crane said.

He noted that all SunLine Transit vehicles are also equipped with two-way communication and video surveillance.

Wilson pleaded not guilty last week to a felony count of battery on transportation personnel, according to court records. He is being held in lieu of $500,000 bail and is due back in court Oct. 7.

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