Homeless man arrested for biting Caltrain conductor in Santa Clara

A homeless man in Santa Clara County is behind bars, charged with assaulting a Caltrain conductor.

Investigators say the attack happened around 8:15 a.m. Wednesday as a northbound Caltrain made its way into the Santa Clara staton.

A transient, identified as 61-year-old Gary Orchid was panhandling in one of the Caltrain cars at the time.

"The conductor approached him, and the suspect did not have a valid ticket. So he was asked to deboard. At that time, the suspect got aggressive and ended up biting the train conductor along with throwing a beverage on him," said Jessica Gabaldon, Santa Clara County Sheriff's spokeswoman.

Ochid is now in the Santa County Clara jail charged with assault. The conductor suffered minor injuries, but declined to be treated at a local hospital.

Transportation experts cite an internal survey by the Amalgamated Transit Union showing three-quarters of transit operators fear for their safety and security while on the job.

Several indices indicate assaults against these types of workers is increasing year-to-year.

Caltrain passengers say Wednesday's crime is alarming.

"It's not only violent, but it's also going to create violence not only between those two, but passers-by are going to see it and get involved and it can create a lot of havoc," said Caltrain passenger Robert Balli. "That's a bigtime issue. It's a security issue. It's a health issue."

Caltrain officials refused KTVU's request for comment, and didn't immediately indicate if there were plans to increase or change security measures aboard their trains.

The northbound train was delayed for several minutes until deputies had Orchid in custody. The train then continued along its route.