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Muni Passenger Who Caught Driver Texting Said He Was Threatened

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Muni rider Shawn Higgins said he used a mirror to record video of an operator texting while driving a 24-Divisadero bus in late February. (CBS)

Muni rider Shawn Higgins said he used a mirror to record video of an operator texting while driving a 24-Divisadero bus in late February. (CBS)

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS 5) — A passenger on San Francisco Muni said he was threatened by an operator after he recorded her texting while driving a bus.

Shawn Higgins rides the 24-Divisadero bus to his jewelry shop in the Castro District. In late February, he shot video of the driver in the mirror, using an iPhone in her lap.

“I went to go film it, and I sat down across from her and she stopped doing it,” Higgins said. “So what we did, we filmed it in the mirror.”

Higgins said he confronted the Muni driver and told her to stop because it is illegal to text while driving. Then, the driver pulled the bus over, forced Higgins and his husband off the bus, threatening never to pick them up again.

“That is clearly not proper procedure,” said Muni spokesman Paul Rose. “Obviously, an operator does not have that authority on who they can or cannot pick up. And if that did happen, that’s not acceptable.”

Rose said the driver denies forcing Higgins off the bus and threatening him. The driver has been punished for texting while driving with a 3-day unpaid suspension. If caught again, Rose said the driver will be fired.

This latest incident comes as Muni answers questions about a door on the L-Taraval train that malfunctioned and stayed open during rush hour last Friday. In both instances, improper procedure was cited as the problem.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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