Trolley driver said black men stabbed and shot him, but he was lying

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Reported by Liku Zelleke

Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl has said that an RTA bus driver who claimed that three black teenagers shot and stabbed him is lying.

Biehl said that key elements of Rickey Wagner’s story could not have occurred as he had described them, leading to a deeper investigation into the situation.

On a release on the Dayton Regional Transportation Authority’s website, RTA Executive Director Mark Donaghy said that Wagoner has been accused as part of the employee disciplinary process with violations of RTA’s Employee Standards of Performance, and remained on paid administrative leave.

In the incident that occurred on February 24th, Wagoner, 49, told police that he had been shot and stabbed while he was investigating his electric-powered trolley’s sudden loss of power. An audio/video recording showed that he had only 22 seconds to disarm two of the assailants, stab one of them with his penknife, fire at them with the bullets that were left in the handgun (which he said he had snatched from one of the assailants) and then race about 200 – 300 feet to get back on his bus.

Biehl said that Wagoner then radioed the dispatcher but appeared to be calm and composed, not what you would expect from a man who’d just been fighting for his life. Wagoner also claimed that a religious book had stopped two bullets that had been fired at him – something that Biehl said was not credible without the bullets penetrating his torso.

Donaghy said, “After conducting a comprehensive investigation that has spanned nearly four months, the police department has concluded Mr. Wagoner fabricated his statements. All of us at RTA are angry at the thought that an employee would allegedly mislead the police, the public and us and use ugly racial stereotypes in doing so.”

As for motives, Biehl said that Wagoner seemed to be in a financial mess and that he owed Montgomery County in excess of $100,000 in property taxes for a dozen homes he owns, including his residence. He may have had plans to file a lawsuit against the city to pay his debts.


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