Witness says he too would have kicked family off bus

Witness says he too would have kicked family off bus »Play Video
Mike Canoy says he was the only passenger on the bus when a TriMet driver kicked a family off the bus in early June. He says the way the mother was acting he probably would have done the same thing.

PORTLAND, Ore. – For the second time in nine months a TriMet bus driver has booted a crying family from a bus, but a witness said Wednesday that the family may have deserved it.

According to sources, the driver was the same person who was disciplined for throwing a mom and baby off her bus in September. TriMet won't confirm that but fellow drivers said it was the same driver. Claudeen Hendren, 57, is being investigated right now by TriMet and is on paid leave.

In the September incident Hendren berated a Forest Grove mother on her bus in September because the woman's baby was crying.

In this latest incident that occurred June 7, a witness, Mike Canoy, said he was the only passenger on the bus and it was about eleven at night. It was raining at the main bus turnaround for TriMet Route 57 when Hendren kicked the mom and her four kids, ages ranging from 2 to 13, off her bus.

He said the mother and her four kids tried to use invalid bus passes and then the mom became irate when she was told she would need to pay.

"At that point she was using such foul language toward the driver, and the kids were out of control, I didn't see any other option," Canoy said.

Canoy said he would have done the exact same thing if he was driving. He said at one point the mother just kept yelling, "Blah, Blah, Blah" at the driver as if she was trying to antagonize her.

A TriMet spokeswoman, Mary Fetsch, said drivers do have a lot of discretion on who they can kick off but said providing a good and safe community service to riders should have taken precedent over booting the family off the bus.

"We want to provide good customer service, absolutely, so we think this could be handled differently," she said.

Hendren was suspended for 10 days after the September incident and has been placed on leave as the current investigation continues.

Canoy called 911 and a Forest Grove police officer gave the mother and her 4 kids a ride home to Cornelius.

"It became clear at a point that these folks were not going to be getting a ride on a bus, and the officer decided to give them a ride home," said Capt. Mike Herb with the Forest Grove Police Department.

KATU News was not able to reach the mother, 34-year-old, Maria Ruiz for comment Wednesday.