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WBNS-10TV Columbus, Ohio | Columbus News, Weather & Sports |

Police: Man charged after claiming to have COVID-19, spitting in COTA bus driver's face

Columbus police say a man has been charged with assault after he allegedly claimed to be infected with coronavirus and spit in a COTA bus driver's face.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Columbus police say a man has been charged with assault after he allegedly claimed to be infected with coronavirus and spit in a COTA bus driver's face Saturday evening.

A detective with Columbus police tells 10TV that the incident happened around 8:10 p.m. in the area of North High Street and East 11th Avenue Saturday evening, near Ohio State's campus.

According to a police report, Walter Caldwell was intoxicated and was ordered off the bus for shouting obscenities. He then allegedly said he had coronavirus and spit directly into the bus driver's face.

COTA tells 10TV that the bus driver immediately began a 14-day quarantine as a precaution.

Police say Walter Caldwell is charged with assault and misconduct involving a public transportation system.

A court date for Caldwell has not been set.

COTA has taken several measures to make sure drivers and passengers are safe.

They are asking riders to enter from the back of the bus, which is why they aren't charging fares right now.

They aren't allowing more than 20 passengers per bus at one time.

Starting Wednesday, COTA is requiring all riders to also wear something to cover their face.