Suspect apprehended for assault, robbery of pregnant NJ TRANSIT bus driver in Elizabeth

Andre Dawson, III
Andre Dawson, III

A man who allegedly assaulted and robbed a pregnant, on-duty NJ TRANSIT bus driver of her cell phone in downtown Elizabeth two weeks ago has been identified and apprehended, acting Union County Prosecutor Michael A. Monahan, Elizabeth Police Chief John Brennan, and NJ TRANSIT Executive Director Kevin S. Corbett jointly announced Friday.

Andre Dawson III, 29, of Union Township is charged with second-degree robbery, third-degree assault on a bus operator, and third-degree assault.

At approximately 4:35 p.m. on Monday, January 28, Elizabeth Police Department officers responded to the area of North Broad Street and Westfield Avenue on a report of an assault to find the victim suffering from bumps, cuts, and bruises at the scene, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutor Michael Sheets, who is prosecuting the case. The bus driver was transported to Trinitas Regional Medical Center in Elizabeth for treatment of her injuries, Sheets said.

An investigation by Elizabeth Police Department Detectives Paul Tillotson and James Szpond, as well as NJ TRANSIT Police Department Detectives Ruben Mendez, Mike Valido, and Jonathan White resulted in Dawson being identified as a suspect in the case, and he was arrested without incident on Wednesday, February 13, lodged in Union County Jail pending a detention hearing scheduled to take place on Wednesday, February 20.

“NJ TRANSIT takes the safety and security of our employees and customers very seriously. Let this serve as an example for anyone intending to harm one of our bus operators, train crew members, or any one of our employees,” Executive Director Corbett said. “I’m proud of the work the New Jersey Transit Police Department did, along with our law enforcement partners in Elizabeth and Union County, to apprehend this individual. We remain committed to prosecuting all assaults on our employees to the fullest extent of the law.”

Convictions on second-degree criminal charges are commonly punishable by 5 to 10 years in state prison, while third-degree charges can result in 3 to 5 years in state prison. 

These criminal charges are mere accusations. Each defendant is presumed innocent unless or until proven guilty in a court of law.   

Press release updated with the correct age of Andre Dawson III.