Suspect admits to assault of pregnant NJ TRANSIT bus driver in Elizabeth

A Union Township man has admitted to assaulting a pregnant, on-duty NJ TRANSIT bus driver in downtown Elizabeth earlier this year, 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, 39, of Union Township pleaded guilty Thursday to a single count of third-degree aggravated 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. The bus driver was transported to Trinitas Regional Medical Center in Elizabeth for treatment of her injuries.

An investigation by Elizabeth Police Department Detectives Paul Tillotson and James Szpond, as well as New Jersey 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, then lodged in Union County Jail.

“At NJ TRANSIT, the safety and security of our employees and customers are paramount,” Corbett said. “Let this guilty plea serve as an example for anyone contemplating to harm one of our bus operators, train crew members, or any one of our employees that their actions will not be tolerated, and they will be apprehended and aggressively prosecuted.”

Sentencing in the case has been scheduled for Friday, June 7 before state Superior Court Judge Lisa Miralles Walsh, at which time the State will recommend a sentence of eight years in state prison.