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Police: Man attacks bus driver who asked him to wear a mask

Officers are trying to track down the man.

PINELLAS PARK, Fla. — Police say a passenger attacked a Tampa Bay area bus driver who asked him to put on a face mask.

It happened around 7:45 a.m. Tuesday on a Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) bus. 

Officers say the passenger, who had boarded near 34th Street and 50th Avenue N and refused to wear a face covering during the ride, punched the driver in the face while exiting the bus at the PSTA Transit Station on 70th Avenue. Investigators described the attack as "unprovoked," saying it caused "significant" injuries to the driver.

The passenger ran off, and police haven't been able to find him. Authorities say he's described as a Black man in his 30s with a short beard and short hair. According to investigators, he was wearing a white t-shirt with a gray Supreme satchel, a Gatorade towel and small, dark sunglasses.

The Pinellas Park Police Department is urging anyone who knows who he is to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-973-TIPS or contact the department at 727-369-7864. Tipsters should reference case number 2021-38871.

RELATED: Nearly 500 HART bus drivers were physically or verbally attacked in the last 3 years

RELATED: Hillsborough bus drivers say they are being told not to enforce mask wearing

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