By Sade Ajishegiri – Special to The Bloomingtonian
Bloomington, Ind. – July 20, 2023
Jody Dayhuff, a 52-year-old veteran driver of Bloomington Transit, was pepper-sprayed by a passenger on July 3, 2023. Dayhuff said the attack occurred without any apparent reason.
The alleged assailant, identified as Jaquaya Roy, was arrested shortly after the attack but has since been released, and only charged with a misdemeanor. It wasn’t Roy’s first interaction with law enforcement, she was sentenced to 180 days in jail when a member of law enforcement was injured during a pursuit in Earlville, Illinois, Southwest of Chicago.
Dayhuff, who has served Bloomington Transit and the Bloomington community for nearly six years, was operating her regular number two bus route when the incident occurred. The Roy sprayed her twice from an unlabeled bottle, causing intense burning sensations on her face, arms, and left leg, though her glasses, fortunately, protected her eyes.
Following the attack, Dayhuff was taken to the hospital for medical attention. However, she spent a considerable amount of time in the waiting room before receiving advice from the doctor to take a shower as soon as possible.
Dayhuff said her face was still burning the next day.
Recounting the incident, Dayhuff expressed her love for her passengers and how she goes out of her way to provide them with excellent service. Despite her familiarity with many of the regular riders, she did not recognize her attacker that night.
According to Dayhuff, she first noticed Roy muttering to herself from the back of the bus but did not think much of it. It was only when the bell rang, signaling a stop request, that she glanced at the rearview mirror, preparing to slow down at the upcoming stop.
Upon hearing Roy address her with offensive language, Dayhuff grew alarmed. The situation quickly escalated as Roy demanded the driver to stop the bus and subsequently pepper-sprayed her twice, targeting her face down to her knee. Dayhuff managed to secure the assailant inside the bus until the police arrived, preventing her escape.
When asked about the motive behind the attack, Roy simply responded, “You know why.”
A Bloomington Transit supervisor promptly called the police and arrived at the scene before law enforcement, urging Dayhuff to let the assailant exit the bus. Roy claimed to have schizophrenia before her eventual arrest.
Dayhuff emphasized that this unprovoked assault was unprecedented in her experience as a bus driver. Despite being shaken up by the incident, she asserted her determination to continue driving and not let Roy disrupt her life.
“I want to show my passengers I’m okay,” Dayhuff stated confidently.
The Bloomingtonian filed an Access to Public Records Act (APRA) information request with the City of Bloomington on July 6, 2023, to view the video of the incident, and was denied access in a letter on July 13, 2023.
Here is the text of the denial:
“The records you requested are part of the investigatory file of the Bloomington Police Department and are being withheld pursuant to Indiana Code 5-14-3-4(b)(1).”
The video records belong to the City of Bloomington, which owns and operates Bloomington Transit, and is funded by taxpayers.
In January, an Indiana University student was stabbed on a Bloomington Transit bus during a racially motivated incident: