Detroit Bus Driver Who Complained About a Woman Coughing on His Bus Has Died of COVID-19

Illustration for article titled Detroit Bus Driver Who Complained About a Woman Coughing on His Bus Has Died of COVID-19
Screenshot: Facebook

Remember the Detroit bus driver who went off in a Facebook video on a woman who was coughing on his bus? On Wednesday, just two weeks after the incident, the driver, Jason Hargrove, died from COVID-19, according to the Detroit News.


In a nearly nine-minute video posted on March 21, Hargrove recounts the incident in which a woman, possibly in her 50s or 60s, coughed repeatedly, citing that “she stood up there and coughed...never covered up her mouth.” Hargrove continues, saying that he felt “violated” for both himself and the eight other riders on the bus.

Just four days after he posted the video, the Detroit driver began feeling ill and was quarantined, his union says. A week later, he died from the virus. Hargrove was one of 540 deaths in the state of Michigan reported as of April 4 and one of the thousands of essential workers who risk their lives every day to continue to serve their communities. A recent report from ProPublica notes that Detroit, which is majority black, has become a hotspot for coronavirus as Michigan continues to see its number of cases grow, particularly among black residents.

It’s unclear if Hargrove contracted the virus that day, but his death has incited fear and uproar among his fellow colleagues, spurring the Detroit Department of Transportation (DDOT) to implement additional safety and sanitary measures, The Hill notes. DDOT has enforced social distancing practices, requiring passengers to enter and exit through the rear doors and stand 10 feet of one another. The department will also provide gloves and wipes to drivers and clean its buses more frequently.

Fox News Detroit reports that Mayor Mike Duggan, in a citywide announcement on Thursday said of Hargrove that “He knew his life was being put in jeopardy—even though he was going to work for the citizens of Detroit every day—by somebody who just didn’t care. Somebody who didn’t take this seriously. And now he’s gone.”

The back-door enforcement on buses did not go into effect until after the incident had occurred, Fox News notes. Since then, the mayor has also implemented temperature checks for bus drivers and additional housing at hotels for drivers who are quarantined. According to the mayor, there are currently 133 drivers quarantined and eight positive cases of COVID-19 among them.


Hargrove’s video will continue to serve as a reminder to be vigilant about our health and our behavior in public spaces. As Hargrove implored, “This is real. Y’all need to take this serious.”

Policy analyst. Writer. Avid note-taker.



It’s gotten to the point where people cannot be trusted to do the right thing. I mean here you have a grown ass woman coughing all over the place. That’s a shitty thing to do in good times, but during a global pandemic, that woman has lost her god damn mind. I think public transportation is going to come to a grinding halt because the drivers and workers don’t want to die because of commuters who don’t give a shit. It will be rough, but at least people won’t be able to pack into trains and busses like god damn sardines.