A Brooklyn man accused of pepper-spraying two MTA buses in one day and sending a driver to the hospital faced a sea of angry transportation workers in Brooklyn court Thursday.
Andre Chandler, 46, of Brownsville, was hit with a 14-count indictment for allegedly pepper-spraying a B15 bus driver after boarding without paying the fare on Aug. 23 around 4 a.m.
The driver choked on the noxious fumes and was taken to Brookdale Hospital.
More than 12 hours later, Chandler allegedly hopped on another B15 and sprayed it on riders, sending them fleeing from the MTA bus.
“Transit workers provide invaluable services to our city and I am fully committed to protecting them,” Kings County District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said. “He now faces felony charges because of the seriousness of his actions.”
Chandler allegedly attacked the bus driver over a missed stop, according to the DA. He asked to be let off at the corner of Rockaway and Hageman Aves. in Brownsville — and erupted in a peppery fit when the driver told him the bus was stopping down the block to avoid construction site.
He pulled the same trick again later that day on a B15 near E. 98th St. and Blake Ave. Chandler sprayed riders inside the bus, forcing teary-eyed coughing passengers to flee the scene.
The second spraying at 4:30 p.m. that day happened at E. 98th St. and Blake Ave., when he started spraying inside the bus, forcing teary-eyed, coughing passengers to run.
The bus driver followed Chandler after the pepper spray incident and told cops he saw Chandler toss a canister in the trash. Police recovered a can of Counter Assault Bear Deterrent, a type of pepper spray.
Transport Workers Union Local 100 officials and MTA workers turned out in force at Chandler’s hearing, where bail was set at $30,000.
“I don’t have any sympathy for anybody that attacks a transit worker,” TWU Local 100 President Tony Utano, said. “We come here to do a job and go home safe to our family. We don’t come here to do a job and go to the hospital.”
Legal Aid Society, which is representing Chandler, did not return request for comment.
Chandler allegedly told law enforcement officials that he was sorry, and claimed the first incident was triggered by a gay slur from the bus driver, while claiming the second spraying was accidental, according to the DA’s office.