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DV Pilot Police & Fire

Keen-Eyed NJ Transit Officer Nabs Man Wanted For Spitting On Newark Bus Driver

NJ Transit officer Peña-Perez identified Sergio Hernandez on the street a day after seeing footage of him beating a bus driver.
NJ Transit officer Peña-Perez identified Sergio Hernandez on the street a day after seeing footage of him beating a bus driver. Photo Credit: NJ Transit/Essex County Jail

A keen-eyed police officer recognized a man captured on surveillance tapes spitting on an NJ Transit bus driver the day before and subsequently took him into custody, officials said.

A bus driver was off of the bus while stopped to pick up passengers at the Branch Brook Park Light Rail Station when a man spit on him, then fled shortly before 6 a.m. Monday, an NJ Transit spokesperson said.

NJ Transit Police Officer Peña-Perez scoured the surveillance tapes later that day, and returned spotted the him while patrolling a section of the North Ward on Tuesday afternoon, authorities said.

The man, identified as Sergio Hernandez, 24, of Newark, was charged with aggravated assault on a bus operator and interference with transportation, authorities said.

This investigation is ongoing.

“NJTPD officers continue through this pandemic with an unwavering commitment to protect you and the nearly 12,000 NJ TRANSIT employees that keep the system moving,” NJ Transit Police said in a statement.

“NJ TRANSIT bus operators and train crews are protected employees under the laws of the State of New Jersey. Any assault upon them carries a prison term of up to 5 years and fines of up to $15,000.”

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