Montgomery County Police are still searching for three suspects accused of spitting on and pepper spraying a bus driver near Bethesda's Westfield Montgomery Mall.
The three young males boarded the bus on March 7 between Nicholson Lane and Nicholson Court in Bethesda, officials say.
The bus driver told police that the passengers were disturbing other passengers and asked them to stop, but they continued to be disorderly.
The driver stopped the bus on Westlake Drive near the mall and asked them to exit, according to a statement. One of the unruly passengers responded by spitting on the driver.
The driver stepped out of his seat, went to exit the bus as the three passengers were leaving. One of the passengers immediately pepper sprayed the driver in the face, surveillance video obtained by News4 shows.
The driver then fell and hit his head on the steps of the bus, Montgomery County Police Officer Rick Goodale said.
Fire and Rescue took the driver to a hospital to treat his injuries.
Some bus passengers told News4 they were disgusted by the assault.
"Spitting on somebody is one of the most crazy levels of disrespect," Demond Battle, a Ride On bus passenger, said.
Dan Hibbert, director of Ride On Transit says he worries about bus operators because of an uptick in incidents targeting drivers.
“We look to the community for support because we want our operators and our customers to have a safe day because they need to get to and from work,” Hibbert said.
Two suspects were wearing distinctive backpacks — one with Spongebob and the other with emojis on it.
Police urge the public to call Montgomery County police at 230-773-6710 if anyone recognizes the suspects. Crime Solvers of Montgomery County is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the three suspects. You can call them at 1-866-411-TIPS if you wish to remain anonymous.