Union president defends bus driver's actions in altercation

KENOSHA (WITI) – A Kenosha Transit bus driver is fighting to get his job back. This, after he was fired following an altercation on board a bus involving a teen bus rider. Now, the union representing the driver is coming to his defense, and trying to get him back to work.

"That's the whole issue here, bring him back to work," Rick Bassler, the acting president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 998 said.

The altercation on board the Kenosha Transit bus between driver Scotty Wells and a Tremper High School student was caught on surveillance camera.

The video shows Wells greet a 17-year-old Kenosha Tremper High School student who stepped onto his bus after school on January 17th.

“I know it’s you. Been waiting for you,” Wells says in the video.

A police report says Wells claims he had asked for the teen’s information after allegedly having problems with him on previous rides.

“What’s that for?” the teen asks in the video.

“That’s for your mouth…when you got off the bus the last time,” Wells says in the video.

In the video, the teen sits down, but a few moments later, the teen gets back up as Wells speaks.

Then, an altercation ensues between the teen and the bus driver, and the video shows the teen punching Wells twice — breaking his glasses in the process.

The video shows Wells get out of his seat and fight back.

The police report says Wells told police he feared for his safety.

As the bus driver and the teen are fighting, the bus begins to move forward, hitting a station wagon before rolling into other parked cars.

The video shows Wells then call police, and the teen was arrested for battery and recklessly endangering safety.

Wells was treated for bruises to his face and left knee. Afterwards, Kenosha Transit fired Wells as a result of the incident.

"When Scotty's holding onto him and leaning forward, the student was able to easily pull him out of his seat. At that point, Scotty was moving - starting to move the bus forward, so Scotty had no opportunity at all at that point to stop that bus, because he was pulled out of his seat and then they fell in the aisle and then a fight pursued after that. They said it was improper conduct. They felt that he should have stopped the bus. We question at what point should he have stopped the bus? He was pulled out of his seat," Bassler said.

Bassler says he defends the action Wells took in this case.

"Did Scotty do everything right here? No. But this does not deserve a termination for him defending himself," Bassler said.

The union will meet again with Kenosha Transit next week to try to get Wells reinstated. If that doesn't happen, the issue will move to arbitration.

Kenosha Transit has not responded to FOX6 News' repeated requests for an interview.

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