A Transit Windsor bus driver is speaking out about an extremely dangerous and common occurrence on a bus route that goes to Leamington, Ont.
Nicole Couser has only been driving the Route 42 bus since September and says what she's experienced in that time has been the worst in her 25-year career.
Someone has been throwing objects — cans of Coke, cans of tomatoes, water bottles — at the bus she drives, sometimes causing serious damage.
"It's not easy trying to drive a 40-foot 15-ton vehicle and then worrying about oncoming things flying at your windshield," Couser told Windsor Morning.
"It's quite scary. It's dark out there, you know. Some days it's raining, some days it's very foggy. You just never know."
If I get startled enough am I going to veer off the road and hit a pole or hit an oncoming vehicle? - Nicole Couser, Transit Windsor bus driver
She said other drivers on that route have experienced the same thing.
"It's been happening regularly since I started, but from talking to coworkers and other people who have been driving the route, starting right from the beginning of when the Leamington bus went into effect, so three years now," she said.
"We had at least one shattered windshield from another driver who had a can of tomatoes thrown at him, and my windshield was cracked."
The objects are also always thrown on Seacliff Drive — on her shifts, between 6:33 and 6:38 a.m.
Couser said the risk to her passengers is what really worries her.
I contemplated, you know, going off work for a few months. - Nicole Couser, Transit Windsor bus driver
"It's a lot. I have anywhere from 15 to 30 people regularly ride this bus in the morning and it does weigh on your shoulders," she said.
"If I get startled enough, am I going to veer off the road and hit a pole or hit an oncoming vehicle? It can be very dangerous and it's a lot of responsibility."
She said she's considered taking leave from her job because of the stress and anxiety this has caused.
"I'm pretty traumatized by this whole thing," she said. "I was hit last Thursday, and Friday I contemplated, you know, going off work for a few months."
She said her passengers have had her back from the beginning, and one has even taken videos of the suspect pickup truck.
That information has been passed onto the police, and Couser hopes they find the person or people responsible.
The OPP say they are investigating multiple incidents between October and January.
"Unknown occupant(s) of a pickup truck have thrown items at a City of Windsor Transit bus, in some instances causing damage. The investigation is ongoing to identify individual(s) responsible," an OPP news release issued Thursday said.
A Transit Windsor spokesperson said the agency hopes that with police on the lookout, the culprits stop.