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King County Metro drivers concerned with crime, drug use on buses

A suspect is now charged with allegedly bringing Molotov cocktails onto a Metro Bus. The King County Prosecutor "rush filed" the case.

SEATTLE — A suspect accused of bringing Molotov cocktails onto a Metro bus was charged in a King County court after prosecutors "rush filed" the case. 

The incident is part of a larger issue on local buses. Drivers say crime and drug use is only increasing.

Driving through the city can be a daunting task, now add in maneuvering a 40 or 60-foot bus carrying passengers.  

"It's really difficult to pay attention to what's happening behind you when you have all these factors in front of you that you're responsible for," said Bus Operator Johnathan Futch who has been with King County Metro for four and a half years.

In that time Futch said he's filed about 15 to 20 incident reports. 

"One of the scariest moments was when the person was trying to get at me in the driver's seat," he said. He was also spat on at the beginning of the pandemic. 

"The N-word every day of my career behind the seats, more times than I'd like to say. Anything but my name," said Futch.

Drug use and illegal activity is an issue that's only growing according to Ken Price who's the President of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 587 which represents Metro bus operators. 

"We always stay happy driving a bus because we get to say good morning and have a good day 200 times a day and that is infectious. We don't do that as much anymore," said Price. 

On Sept. 11, a metro passenger reported another passenger walked onto a metro bus holding two Molotov cocktails. Seattle police arrested the suspect, later identified as Robert Johnson after he got off the bus. He had the containers with him labeled "Romeo" and "Juliet". 

Johnson pleaded not guilty to possession of an incendiary device in court Wednesday. 

Price says one of the solutions to the ongoing issue is accountability for illicit activity on buses.

"A little bit of enforcement will go a long way, the word will spread if you ride the bus and are held accountable to the Code of Conduct," said Price.

Futch adds that it takes everyone's action. 

"Just know that your voice does matter. Call 9-1-1 and let them know what you see so they can report it."

KING 5 reached out to King County Metro and they said since Johnson was arrested after leaving the bus, they don't consider it an incident. KING 5 requested incident reports from the past two years and is still waiting for that information. 


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