Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Bus Driver Accused Of Assaulting Disabled Woman

An Access Lynx bus driver is charged with kidnapping and abuse after a physically disabled rider said he kissed her against her will.

Investigators say the suspect made repeated advances, assaulting the victim while she was strapped to her seat and had no chance to get away.

Gustavo Riano wanted nothing to do with Eyewitness News cameras or questions from our reporter following his arrest.

"Why did you get arrested?" asked Eyewitness News reporter Liz Artz.

The 49-year-old bus driver offered no response as he rushed away. He is charged with kidnapping and abusing a disabled woman who was riding on the Access Lynx bus he was driving.

Investigators say Riano avoided taking the victim to her destination and stopped several times to kiss and hug her while she was defenseless and strapped into a bus seat. The only thing the victim was able to do was send text messages to her husband, alerting him to what was happening.

Riano's wife says her husband is innocent.

"No, it's not true," said Mrs. Riano, refusing to look into the camera.

However, an Orange County detective says Riano admitted to the incident at a local hospital after he was attacked and physically beaten by the victim's husband.

The series of bizarre events has disturbed some of Riano's neighbors.

"That's a real surprise, really a surprise," said Bob Whatley, neighbor.

Riano was employed by MV Transportation, the company that operates Access Lynx buses. A spokesperson for that company says Riano has been fired.

"He doesn't seem to be the kind of person that would harm anybody," said Whatley.

Riano was injured enough that he had to be treated at a hospital after he was attacked by the victim's husband. However, he did not want press charges against the man. In fact, one investigator in this case told Eyewitness News that Riano said he understood why the victim's husband was so angry and that he did not blame the man for giving him a beating.

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