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City bus operator acted as ‘getaway driver’ for mob that beat teen on bus, suit alleges

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STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — It should have been a typical uneventful after-school ride on a city bus.

But a trip along Richmond Avenue 15 months ago proved harrowing for a teenage passenger, a lawsuit alleges.

The 15-year-old girl was savagely beaten by a group of other teens, suffering fractures of the nose and both eye sockets, according to the teen’s lawyer and a civil complaint.

The bus driver did nothing to help the girl while she was being attacked, the complaint alleges.

The operator not only failed to report the incident to police, but “essentially act(ed) as a getaway driver” by letting some of the alleged assailants exit and then re-board the bus after the attack before continuing along his route, the complaint contends.

Now, Christina Arias, the victim’s mother, has sued the New York City Transit Authority, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and the unidentified bus driver over the Oct. 21, 2019, episode.

The complaint alleges the defendants allowed a “volatile, inflammatory … and unsafe condition” to develop on the bus and “negligently, carelessly and recklessly” failed to intercede or call police.

“It’s obviously a traumatizing event when you’re attacked,” said Anthony L. Ameduri, the family’s lawyer. “There was no intervention or request for police assistance. As a transporter, you have a responsibility to protect passengers on the bus.”

The girl, now 16, is still undergoing medical treatment, said Ameduri, a partner in the West Brighton law firm of Ameduri, Galante & Friscia.

Filed in state Supreme Court, St. George, the suit seeks unspecified monetary damages.

In response to the suit, an MTA spokeswoman said, “Assaults in the transit system are unacceptable, and the MTA continues to work with law enforcement and union leadership on ways to further enhance safety.”

She added: “We do not litigate pending cases in the press.”

The events unfolded around 3 p.m., according to an Advance/SILive.com report.

The teen boarded the S59 bus at the intersection of Genesee Avenue and Richmond Avenue in Eltingville, her family said. She had just finished class at the Nicotra Charter School, located just a few steps from the bus stop.

The girl went to the back of the bus.

At that time, a group of about 10 youths between the age of 14 and 15 were already on the bus harassing passengers, including some senior citizens, the victim’s godfather previously told the Advance/SILive.com. Those teens were from another school, he said.

The unruly group was throwing food and other things at senior citizens, other adults and kids in the back of the bus, said the girl’s family.

Initially, the girl wasn’t a target, but at one point, another teen threw a Pop Tart and Rice Krispies at her, said the godfather.

“She was telling them to stop, so they kind of realized that she was getting irritated,” he said. “When she was getting ready to get off the bus, they popped a rubber band and hit her in the eye, so she told them to stop.”

The bus continued on its route, and the girl prepared to exit at Victory Boulevard and Richmond Avenue. The teen’s mom was parked nearby waiting to pick her up to go home, the godfather said.

“When the bus stopped for her to get off, she [got] ready to get off, they punched her in the face. She got off, they held the doors open and said, ‘What are you gonna do about it?’” the godfather said.

“Another person ran off the bus, punched her in the face, ran back onto the bus and a bunch of them came off, kicked her, punched her, kicked her in the face,” he said. “A couple of kids got back onto the bus, and then the bus driver closed the doors and left and then the rest of the kids ended up running off.”

The injured girl was taken to Richmond University Medical Center in West Brighton.

Pictures of the injuries previously shared with the Advance/SILive.com show the teen in a hospital bed with a neck brace and a left eye so swollen she cannot open it.

There also were scratches on her left elbow, and her right eye was bruised.

Afterward, a Police Department spokesman said a report was on file for the incident and a 14-year-old had been taken into custody for assault. That individual’s name was not released due to his or her age.

The civil complaint alleges the girl was verbally and physically attacked on the bus “in plain view” of the driver.

After halting the vehicle at the bus stop on Richmond Avenue and Victory Boulevard, the driver “idled the bus at the location watching and not reporting the incident to police or other emergency personnel to intervene,” contends the complaint.

In allowing some of the alleged assailants back on the bus after the attack, the driver “aided and abetted their transport away, essentially acting as a getaway driver,” alleges the complaint.

“In my opinion, it makes you wary of traveling on public transportation,” said Ameduri, the lawyer. “Who would expect something like this would happen?”

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