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Bus driver gets probation for assaulting rider

Bus driver gets probation for assaulting rider

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A fired StarTran bus driver won’t go to jail for beating a rider and dragging him onto O Street.

Troy Fischer, 43, got a year of probation and 100 hours of community service Thursday for hitting Torrance Rose, now 41, nearly 20 times in the face, head and stomach.

“I did something wrong. It’s the worst thing I ever did,” Fischer said after getting sentenced. “I was taught in the Marine Corps to take responsibility.”

Fischer faced as much as a year in jail for the misdemeanor assault charge, and Deputy Lancaster County Attorney Nick Freeman pushed County Judge Gale Pokorny to put him behind bars for the violent attack.

“This was not self-defense. This was not a consensual fight,” Freeman said. “He was charged with the safety of the passengers on his bus."

Instead, he said, Fischer threw his passenger away like trash.

Authorities haven’t been able to reach Rose since the day of the attack, the judge said.

Pokorny balked at the push to send Fischer to jail, saying Fischer took responsibility, served eight years in the Marines before earning an honorable discharge as a sergeant and got excellent job reviews in his 5-year career as a StarTran driver.

Lancaster County Attorney Joe Kelly said Freeman asked for jail time because of the number of times Fischer punched Rose, and because he was a bus driver.

“This was a city position of trust,” Kelly said, adding that Freeman gave Pokorny all the relevant evidence.

“The rest is up to the judge,” he said.

In a video of the March 23 beating, Fischer punches Rose 19 times before dragging him off the bus at 84th and O streets, leaving him in the eastbound lane of O Street before driving off.

"I put him off the bus," he told his supervisor over the radio. "It wasn't pretty."

Doctors diagnosed Fischer with depression and anxiety after his stint in the Marines, and he’s displayed signs of PTSD, his attorney, Sean Reagan, told Pokorny.

“He has no history of violence,” Reagan said. “This incident was completely isolated and uncharacteristic.

Forces beyond the criminal justice system exacted a steeper punishment than Pokorny doled out on Thursday.

Fischer was suspended without pay for two days after the assault and fired on April 11. News organizations across the country ran the story, along with the video of the attack.

“It cost me a good job. It cost me my reputation,” he said Thursday.

Late last year, Fischer moved to Hawaii, where his wife is stationed. He landed a part-time job as a UPS driver, which evolved into full-time work.

Pokorny told Reagan he wouldn’t object to letting Fischer do probation in his new home state.

Reach Jonathan Edwards at 402-473-7395 or jedwards@journalstar.com. Follow him at twitter.com/LJSedwards.

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