PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — For 13 years, Dale Tozier has been driving a bus for TriMet. But it was his years of medical training from the US Army Reserves that kicked in to help after he was randomly shot on May 22 with 25 passengers on board.
“I was just working my day off, driving normally, then all of a sudden it’s just blam! I thought my bus had exploded,” Tozier told KOIN 6 News. “I grabbed some towels and stood up and said folks, the bus is out of service, I’ve been shot and you need to exit the bus and find your own best way home.”
Police rushed to the shooting scene near NE 102nd and Halsey around 7 p.m. that night. Tozier was taken to a hospital for treatment and he doesn’t believe he was the target.
“I knew what to do for a gunshot. I knew I was going to be my first aid because I probably knew more than anyone else,” but added he “didn’t do a very good job at it.”
Tozier said he knew the wound wasn’t going to be fatal, “so I opened the window and said, ‘Please call 911.”
As the passengers got off, “this very nice angel of a woman got back on the bus and sat with me,” he said. “It was very comforting to have her there.”
Tozier had glass in his eye — the bullet came through the windshield — but won’t lose his sight. He had eye and shoulder surgery and lost part of his clavicle, which is what stopped the bullet.
And Tozier, who is nearing retirement age, said he’ll go back driving a bus “as soon as I’m able.”
“It wasn’t personal. He wasn’t aiming at the bus.”
On Tuesday, Portland police released a photo of a “vehicle of interest.” Officials did not clarify what type of car it was, but the photo appears to show a black Kia Soul or a similar car.
The veteran driver said there are a lot of things that he would like to see to make bus driving safer, “but none of them would have helped in this case. This is a random bullet that went through my windshield.”
No one else on the bus was injured. Tozier said “it would have been a lot more traumatic if a passenger was hit.”
He’s got a lot of support from friends and family, which is helping during his recovery.
“I feel for all those shooting victims who don’t have a good support network.”
Anyone with information on the case is encouraged to reference case #21-138251 and e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also submit an anonymous tip to the Crime Stoppers of Oregon website or “P3 Tips” phone app for cash rewards up to $2,500.
TriMet is offering its own $2,500 for any information leading to an arrest in the case, as well.