Following a five-week investigation, a Westchester woman was arrested and charged with assaulting a Bee-Line bus driver last month outside the Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla, Westchester County Police said.
Johniazia Torres, 24, of White Plains was charged with second-degree assault, a felony. She was arraigned Friday, July 19 in Mount Pleasant Town Court and released on her own recognizance.
The Wednesday, June 12 attack occurred at 10:30 p.m. after Torres demanded that the driver allow her to get off the bus directly in front of the hospital entrance, police said. The driver told Torres that the bus could not discharge passengers until it reached a nearby bus stop, according to police.
When the bus stopped at Hospital Oval East and Emergency Drive to let passengers off, Torres approached the driver and sprayed her with pepper spray, according to police. The driver experienced a burning sensation in her eyes and had difficulty breathing. She was treated at the medical center and released that night, police said.
An immediate search of the hospital and surrounding areas was conducted by patrol officers, but the suspect could not be located. The case was then turned over to Detectives Brandon Amlung and Michael Petruolo of the General Investigations Unit. They took Torres into custody Friday at her home on West Post Road.
“The safety of transit personnel and riders has always been a top priority for the Westchester County Police,” Commissioner Thomas A. Gleason said. “Our detectives were committed to closing this case with an arrest no matter how long it took. I commend them for their diligent efforts to identify and apprehend a suspect in this incident.”
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