Sonoma airport shuttle passenger gives punch-drunk new meaning

Monday night’s Airport Express run from Santa Rosa to San Francisco started out like most Monday nights, just two passengers for a normally quiet drive.The peace didn’t last. “‘Hey, where are you going? I want to go to the airport,’” the male...

Sonoma airport shuttle passenger gives punch-drunk new meaning

Monday night’s Airport Express run from Santa Rosa to San Francisco started out like most Monday nights, just two passengers for a normally quiet drive.

The peace didn’t last.

“‘Hey, where are you going? I want to go to the airport,’” the male passenger yelled at the driver, according to Airport Express manager Tony Geraldi.

“‘I am going to the airport,’” responded the driver, Theodore Lipscomb, 63, who had the bus headed south on Highway 101, Geraldi said.

The answer didn’t satisfy the passenger.

“He didn’t believe him,” said Geraldi, who saw the 90-second-long confrontation captured on the onboard video camera. “He was yelling at the driver and pretty much started attacking him. (The driver) got hit a couple times in the head and on the shoulder.”

Lipscomb, who has been an Airport Express bus driver for 18 years, pulled to the side of the highway near Todd Road and radioed a company dispatcher for help.

Geraldi praised Lipscomb’s composure during the incident, which likely played out at 65 mph.

“The driver did an absolutely fantastic job maintaining control and pulled over,” Geraldi said.

Lipscomb, through his boss, declined a request for an interview.

California Highway Patrol officers responded to the call for help arrested John Wilson, 59, of Monte Rio, on suspicion of battery and being drunk in public.

Geraldi, who went to the scene, said the other passenger — a woman who said she and Wilson were headed for an overseas vacation — told him she was re‑evaluating their relationship. Airport Express provided her a taxi home.

The transit company manager said the business caters to vacation and business travelers. He’d seen nothing like it in his 30 years with the company.

“It kind of shook up some of our other drivers,” he said.

Lipscomb didn’t need medical attention but was shaken and another driver finished the route.

“We offered him some time off but he adamantly refused,” Geraldi said. “He’s fine. He was back on the road” Tuesday.

You can reach Staff Writer Randi Rossmann at 707-521-5412 or randi.rossmann@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter@rossmannreport.

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