ELIZABETH — A man accused of assaulting and robbing a pregnant on-duty NJ Transit bus driver in January was arrested Wednesday.

Acting Union County Prosecutor Michael A. Monahan said Andre Dawson III, 29, assaulted the driver on board a bus in the area of North Broad Street and Westfield Avenue in Elizabeth on Jan. 28, leaving her with bumps, cuts, and bruises. Dawson was a passenger on the bus.

Monahan did not disclose the circumstances of the assault.

The driver was treated for her injuries at Trinitas Regional Medical Center. NJ Transit spokesman Jim Smith would not disclose the condition of the driver citing privacy laws.

“NJ Transit takes the safety and security of our employees and customers very seriously. Let this serve as an example for anyone intending to harm one of our bus operators, train crew members, or any one of our employees,” NJ Transit Executive Director Kevin Corbett said.

Labor union leadership has pushed for tougher penalties that would include mandatory jail sentences for people who assault NJ Transit crew on the job.

“I’ve had two female conductors physically thrown off trains by angry commuters. I’ve had other people in the past year who have been so brutally beaten they can no longer return to work,” said Steve Burkert, former general chairman for SMART Local 60 last summer.

“I have people now that say they just don’t want to work here anymore. It’s not worth their family to lose an eye, to lose a jaw,” he said.

Dawson was charged with second-degree robbery, third-degree assault on a bus operator, and third-degree assault.

Dawson is being held in the Union County Jail until his detention hearing on Wednesday.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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