Bus driver attacked by passenger; union and CityLink working to keep drivers safe


PEORIA (WEEK) — Peoria Police reports explain how a bus driver was attacked by a passenger who was not cooperating with the rules of the bus. CityLink and the driver’s union said it was working together to keep drivers safe.

The surveillance video showed the moment when driver, Timothy Kircher, was attacked on Friday. A passenger reached through the plexiglass and slamed a phone into his face.

Police said the suspect refused to keep his mask on and had an open container. Both in violation of CityLink rules.

“The assaults, we’re looking for an explanation of why it’s happening like it is,” said CityLink General Manager, Doug Roelfs.

Police arrested Solomon McDuffy for aggravated battery.

Peoria’s Amalgamated Transit Union President, Corey Sebens, said at least six drivers had been attacked this year.

Another driver was attacked a few months ago with a crow bar.

Roelfs said attacks like these were hard to prevent.

“It’s been more often than I’d like. Unfortunately, our drivers are right there in the middle of it and are easy targets,” said Roelfs.

Roelfs said the company was activley working with the union to keep drivers safe. Some of those plans included de-escalation classes for drivers and adding more security to the CityLink building Downtown Peoria.

Although, Roelfs said they were not at the point of needed officers on every bus.

“The cost would be astronomical to put a police officer on each bus,” said Roelfs.

Bus drivers 25 News spoke with off-camera said they had noticed the increased assaults and feel their safety was not being put first. But, Roelfs said the safety of the drivers was being taken care of.

“We hear you and we are doing everything we can to take care of your concerns,” said Roelfs.

Sebens said McDuffy was banned from CityLink services until further notice.

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