A family in Aurora, Colorado, were stunned after learning passengers on an RTD Bus did nothing as 63-year-old Bruce Hocker was suffering a fatal medical emergency just moments after boarding, according to The Denver Channel.
In April of this year, surveillance footage showed Hocker getting onto a public transit bus and sitting next to an unidentified man. Moments later he could be seen having difficulty breathing before he slumps over in his seat – that’s when the man sitting next to him is seen moving to another seat.
It was reported that there were 10 other passengers on the bus and no one did anything to help Hocker as he was suffering a medical emergency.
Thirty-one minutes later when the bus was empty, the driver got out of her seat and noticed Hocker slumped over in his seat. When she tried to wake him by tapping on his shoulder while saying, “Hey, guy” he didn’t move, prompting the driver to call 911.
When Aurora emergency responders arrived, it was too late – Hocker had already passed away.
An autopsy report indicated that Hocker died of cardiac arrest while riding on the public transit bus.
Hocker’s nephew, Kenneth Dixon, stated that “it was devastating to see how he passed away. To pass away helpless, alone, with no one to help you – that’s terrible.”
When Dixon viewed the surveillance footage from the bus, he noticed that the “driver never spotted his uncle in her mirror or stopped to help him, and none of the 10 passengers who were on the bus with him checked on him or notified the driver.” That’s when he decided to reach out to his local news station in an attempt to go public with uncle’s “death to create change to RTD’s policies.”
“What if this was your brother, your husband, your son?” Dixon added. “Would you finish your bus route before you go to check to see if they are okay?”
“Why assume that just because a person gets on your bus that that person is homeless, a drunk or a substance abuser? Why assume that person doesn’t need any help?”
However, RTD board member Tom Tobiassen stated that the bus driver “was doing her job getting the bus to its destination safely. It’s very unfortunate that somebody didn’t say something.”
Tobiassen went on to say that it is “not uncommon for passengers on the RTD bus to fall asleep, which is what the driver may have thought if she saw Hocker slumped over.”
Nate Currey, who is the spokesperson for RTD, added that “with the ridership sometimes we get, it may have occurred to the other passengers that he was sleeping. Or he was intoxicated.”
“People tend to mind their own business when they’re on public transit, unfortunately in cases like this. It’s a very sad incident.”
Currey added: “If I were a member of that family, I would be seeking every avenue possible to explore how things could have been done differently to help operations, to help learn how we can do things better.”
“This is something that will build an awareness piece throughout RTD.”
Larkquanetta Dixon, who is Hocker’s sister, told reporters that she last spoke with her brother just a few days before his death on the RTD bus. She said, “He told me something good was going to happen to him. And then I got the call about his death and I’m still in shock.”
“I think I just went numb. Everything around me was quiet. I didn’t believe what I heard. But I had to believe it.”
It was not immediately made clear if the RTD will investigate the incident or consider changing their policy, but it was reported that the driver has “not been disciplined as they believe she followed every policy.”
[Featured Image By Mark Kolbe/Getty Images]