Argument over mask leads to arrest on PSTA bus

Pinellas County

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – 63-year old Dodd Haldeman says he was just trying to defend an elderly woman on a PSTA bus when he was assaulted.

The woman had confronted another man, scolding him for not wearing a mask. Words were exchanged and Haldeman stepped in. That’s when police say another passenger got involved.

Haldeman says that’s when he was hit.

“He finally decided to get off the bus, and on his way out he smacked me,” said Haldeman. “He hit me and knocked my glasses off.”

Haldeman explains the man came back after getting off the bus.

“He was coming back to the bus. So I have a knife in my backpack. I pulled it off and showed it to him so he could see that I could defend myself,” said Haldeman. “Now, PSTA wants to turn that into an issue saying I pulled a knife on the guy. “

Police located and arrested the other passenger. 59-year old Darryl Watts is facing a charge of abuse of a disabled adult because Haldeman only has one arm.

Yolanda Fernandez with the St. Petersburg Police Department says Haldeman’s knife never came into play in their investigation because he didn’t try to use it. She says it will be up to PSTA to determine if he violated any policies riding with it in his backpack.

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