BAYONNE — An argument over a bus pass turned into an assault on a New Jersey Transit driver, according to police.

Police say 28-year-old Isaac Jaquez, of Jersey City, and 24-year-old Elvira Salas, of Bayonne, were taken into custody for the Dec. 27 incident.

According to the bus driver, who was not charged in the incident, Jaquez and Salas boarded his bus in the area of 48th Street and JFK Boulevard and attempted to show a photo of a bus pass as payment.

The pair, which boarded with a stroller occupied by a toddler, was denied access since the photo was not acceptable as proof of a ticket purchase.

An argument turned physical when Salas spit on the driver and Jaquez punched him, police said. During the altercation, the driver's phone fell to the ground, and Jaquez took it, police said.

After fleeing the scene, Jaquez entered a home in the area and told the homeowner he needed help, according to police. The homeowner notified police.

Officers located Salas and the child in the area of 49th Street. When both suspects were taken into custody, officers found Salas in possession of the driver's phone, police said.

Both Jaquez and Salas are charged with aggravated assault, theft, and endangering the welfare of a child. Jaquez is additionally charged with burglary, and Salas is charged with receiving stolen property.

"While this incident is currently under investigation, there is no higher priority at NJ Transit than the safety and security of our employees and customers," said an agency spokesperson. "This behavior and these actions will not be tolerated, and individuals who contemplate doing harm to our employees will be apprehended and aggressively prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."

NJ Transit noted that a law signed by Gov. Phil Murphy in 2022 permits the agency to suspend or ban riders from the NJ Transit system for committing assaults on employees.

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