Bus Driver Blasted With Suspected Capsicum Spray By Angry Passenger Who Was Denied A Ride
A passenger who was denied entry to a packed bus allegedly sprayed the driver six times in the face with a chemical.
NSW Police are appealing for information after a Sydney bus driver was repeatedly blasted with a substance from a canister thought to be capsicum spray, in what officers called a "despicable" incident on Thursday night.
The public bus was driving along the busy Oxford Street nightlife precinct in Surry Hills around 10.30pm, when a male passenger -- who police said had an English accent -- attempted to board.
"As the bus was at capacity, the driver told a man waiting at the bus stop he could not get on," police said in a statement.
"Witnesses have told police the man began to abuse the driver, before spraying the driver in the face with a chemical, suspected of being capsicum spray."
The bus had stopped on Oxford Street between Flinders and Crown street, a block in the heart of the busy nightlife quarter which features several popular bars and eateries.
Police said the man was denied entry to the bus, which was full, for "safety reasons" due to overcrowding. CCTV provided by police show the man boarding and refusing to disembark, despite clear signals from the driver, and instead sitting on the dashboard of the bus.
"That particular male person has then, after a very robust discussion with the bus driver, removed a canister from his pocket and sprayed and deployed on at least six individual occasions, into the bus driver's face," police Superintendent Gavin Woods said at a press conference.
Vision shows the bus driver attempting to push the man away and block the spray being launched at him.
Police said the 38-year-old bus driver was left "incapacitated" and unable to continue his shift, and had to be treated by paramedics after experiencing breathing problems.
The alleged offender, said to have a "distinctive English accent", fled the location after the alleged altercation. He was wearing a white long-sleeved business shirt with blue dots, and carrying a satchel, at the time of the incident.
"It's despicable behaviour by a coward," Woods said.
Police have released CCTV images from onboard the bus, and are appealing for public assistance to identify the man involved.
Woods asked for the man to hand himself in to police.
"You need to come forward. It's very clear from the footage, members of the community will know who you are," the superintendent said.
"Let your conscience be clear, don't wait for a knock on the door from us."
Anyone with information about this incident is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or through their website.