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Man Beat CTA Passenger, Driver With Bag Of Frozen Chicken, Prosecutors Say

By Erica Demarest | October 17, 2016 5:37am
 Caleb Russell, 27, is charged with battery and aggravated battery to a transit employee after an incident on a CTA bus Wednesday.
Caleb Russell, 27, is charged with battery and aggravated battery to a transit employee after an incident on a CTA bus Wednesday.
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DNAinfo/Cook County Sheriff's Office

COOK COUNTY CRIMINAL COURTHOUSE — A CTA bus passenger went on a frozen chicken-swinging rampage last week, first attacking a woman with a bag of chicken and then savagely beating the bus driver, prosecutors said.

Caleb Russell, 27, became enraged when a woman wouldn't flirt with him Wednesday — so he attacked the woman with the chicken before setting his sights on the driver, according to authorities.

The 52-year-old driver was beaten so badly that he lost a tooth, will need corrective gum surgery.  He suffered a broken nose and jaw as well, Assistant State's Attorney Erin Antonietti said during a bond hearing Friday.

Russell is no stranger to bizarre incidents on the bus. In 2014, he was sentenced to two years in prison for making a false bomb threat on a CTA bus, court records show.

In that case, he spouted off a racially charged chant before threatening to blow up the bus as "jihad against the white devil."

RELATED: Man Threatens to Blow Up Bus as 'Jihad Against the White Devil'

Wednesday's chicken attack started about 1 p.m. when Russell tried to flirt with a fellow passenger on a CTA bus, prosecutors said.

The 48-year-old woman wasn't interested, according to Antonietti, so Russell attacked her with a bag of frozen chicken.

That's when the 52-year-old driver stopped the bus and tried to end the attack, according to an arrest report. Russell then attacked the driver, repeatedly kicking and kneeing the man while beating him with the bag of chicken, court records show.

Police arrested Russell in the 7200 block of South Ashland Avenue and brought him to a nearby hospital for a psychiatric evaluation, according to court testimony.

Russell, of the 8300 block of South Hermitage Avenue, is charged with battery and aggravated battery to a transit employee.

Cook County Judge Peggy Chiampas on Friday set bail at $100,000.

Caleb Russell's mugshot from an earlier arrest.

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