NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The second attack on a MTA bus driver in five days has union officials calling for partitions to isolate drivers and an increased police presence on buses.
Driver Mark Anthony Salandy, 30, was stabbed in the shoulder with a syringe as he drove a B68 bus through Windsor Terrace Monday morning. The incident took place on Prospect Park West near Greenwood Avenue at around 11 a.m.
Police released a sketch of the suspect, who authorities said fled the bus after the stabbing, on Monday evening.
The suspect is described as a white man between 45 to 50 and approximately 5-foot-9.
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Salandy was taken to Methodist Hospital and has since been released.
The driver’s fiancée, Vanessa Usai, said Salandy will need to undergo tests and precautionary treatment for months as a result of the incident.
“We both woke up this morning, went to work, do our jobs and now, our lives could be completely upside-down,” Usai told 1010 WINS’ Sonia Rincon.
The driver’s mother also recounted her horror upon hearing of the incident.
“Oh my God, I was so scared. Because you don’t know if the needle was an infected needle…you had no idea,” she told CBS 2’s Dick Brennan.
TWU Local 100 President John Samuelsen told reporters there was nothing on the bus to prevent the suspect from getting to the driver. Furthermore, he lamented there was also no police officer on board to arrest the suspect.
“There’s been no increase in the uniformed bus police presence on our buses in terms of response, in terms of establishing partitions to protect our operators. It has been painfully slow,” Samuelsen said.
Samuelsen said there was no confrontation between the driver and the suspect. He said it was just an unprovoked attack by a man he called a “lunatic.”
“We’re accustomed to dealing with this — three, four bus operators a week get assaulted. The NYPD hasn’t responded,” he added.
The incident comes less than a week after another driver was attacked by a person who didn’t pay his fare.
Despite earlier reports, police said there was no criminality or physical altercation in a separate incident Monday involving a female driver.
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