Witness commends bus driver following incident with Councillor Stroud

Kingstonist file photo of a Kingston Transit bus.

Following the news of City Councillor Peter Stroud causing delays in transit, a member of the public who witnessed the altercation has come forward to express gratitude to the bus driver involved in the situation.

The incident, which occurred on Sunday, Jun. 23, 2019, caused a commotion for those on the bus, as well as delays in Kingston Transit services, as Stroud allegedly followed the bus along its route, and confronted the driver on more than one occasion, yelling and hitting a bus at least once.

Since the news came to light, public reaction has been mixed. Many have called for due process to take its course and for Stroud to be permitted his day in court. Others have urged the councillor to step down as the representative of Sydenham District, and others still have questioned the safety of Stroud’s child, who was with him throughout the incident and was allegedly removed from the child seat on the back of Stroud’s bike and placed on the roadway before he confronted the bus driver.

Expressing respect for how the Kingston Transit driver handled the situation, one of the riders on the bus during the incident (who has identified herself to Kingstonist but requested to remain anonymous) supported Kingston Police’s report of what occurred that day.

“I remember him cycling past the bus on Palace Road and he made some sort or gesture to the bus driver,” the witness said. “I thought maybe he felt cut off by the bus driver, but she was doing her job and making the designated stop.”

According to the witness, Stroud then pulled his bicycle in front of the bus at the intersection of Bath Road and Sir John A. Macdonald Boulevard. When he pulled in front of the bus, the light was red, but it turned green while Stroud remained in front of the bus, confronting the driver, the witness said.

“He had a young boy with him, who I assumed was his son, and he had a gift with him. I guess he was going to a birthday party,” she said, confirming that Stroud had removed his son from the child’s seat on the rear of the bicycle and placed the child on the roadway.

“[Stroud] started knocking on the bus window, and went to the driver’s window and was banging on it, too,” the passenger recalled. “Traffic was moving in the lanes on either side of the bus. His son was standing on the line between the lanes while cars were moving past.”

At that point, Stroud took out his cellphone and appeared to be taking photos or video of the bus driver, the witness said.

“People on the bus noticed the commotion, and even though we had a green light, he refused to remove his bike from traffic,” she said, noting that some passengers took out their own cellphones to take photos or video in response.

The witness said that the bus driver would not open the door for Stroud, and eventually pulled down the blind on the bus so he couldn’t take any more photos of her. The driver was in contact with dispatch the entire time while they contacted Kingston Police.

Stroud eventually got back on his bike and continued down Bath Road, the witness said, and when the driver pulled into the next stop on the route, Stroud was waiting there. The witness described how the bus driver handled the situation.

“The driver let the people wanting off out the back door, but did not open the front door of the bus. There were people wanting on the bus, but the driver remained sitting at the stop with the door closed,” she said.

At that point, the witness went to speak to the driver to see what was going on. The driver apparently didn’t seem sure why this was happening or what Stroud’s issue was, the witness said.

“She remained calm the entire time and kept the passengers aboard the bus safe,” the witness expressed.

Stroud then got back on his bike and continued west down Bath Road. The witness said that, at that point, the driver apologized to those waiting to board the bus, and allowed them on board.

“They were confused as to what was going on and why the bus driver wasn’t opening the door to allow them to board,” the witness recalled. “Other passengers on the bus filled them in on what had happened previously.”

The witness said that Stroud was once again waiting for the bus at its next stop, but when the driver once again refused to open the door to him, “it looked at that point that he’d given up and got back on his bicycle and rode off.”

The witness remained on the bus until she reached her destination, but felt the need to address the driver again before departing.

“I went out the front door so I could commend the driver on how well she handled the situation and how she ensured the safety of everyone aboard the bus, and I thanked her,” she said.

She and a number of other passengers weren’t aware of who the man was at the time, the witness said, noting that Stroud was wearing a hat and sunglasses during the incident. However, when she learned that the man was, in fact, Stroud, she was taken aback.

“We all just thought he was a lunatic… Especially seeing as his son was there. Many of us were concerned for the young man’s well-being, especially when he had parked his bicycle at the set of lights and the traffic was moving very close to the young man, ” she said, referring to their concerns for the welfare of Stroud’s child.

“When it was released that he was a councillor, I thought his remarks on the matter were poor and thought he should be embarrassed about his behaviour,” she continued. “He should be setting a better example, not only for his son, but for the citizens of this city.”

The witness said that Kingston Police did not attend to the scene at any point. At time of press, Kingston Police have not responded to requests for more information on the incident, including why there was a two week gap between the date that the incident occurred and the date that they contacted Stroud, who initially refused to speak with police. Stroud eventually attended Kingston Police Headquarters on Wednesday, Jul. 11, 2019, where he was subsequently arrested and charged with causing a disturbance and obstruction of the lawful use of property under $5,000. He was later released on conditions with a future court date.

Because Stroud has expressed that the media are not to contact him further regarding this incident, Kingstonist was unable to have him confirm or deny the accounts of the witness.

To read the initial report on the incident, click here.

To read the follow-up article on the incident, including the statement Stroud made on Twitter regarding the matter, click here.

Editorial note: an earlier version of this article stated that Councillor Stroud attended Police Headquarters on July 24. This was an error. Stroud attended Kingston Police Headquarters on July 11.

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