Philippe Monguillot: Bus Driver Dies After Passenger Attack Over Mask Request

Philippe and Veronique Monguillot

Twitter Philippe Monguillot and his wife Véronique

Philippe Monguillot, a French bus driver, died on Friday, July 10, after he was attacked by passengers when he asked them to wear masks. The 59-year-old Monguillot was attacked on Sunday, July 5, in an assault that left him brain dead until his death on Friday, his daughter told Sud Ouest newspaper.

Monguillot’s youngest daughter, 18-year-old Marie, told the outlet that the doctors and the family decided to pull him off life support since he was in a vegetative state. She said he died surrounded by his family, his wife Véronique and his three daughters.

Four men have been arrested in connection with the incident. Two of them, aged 22 and 23, were previously known to police and were charged with attempted murder. The two other men were charged with failing to assist someone in danger and one of the two was also charged with attempting to hide a suspect, the Guardian reported. It is unclear at this time if their charges will be modified following Monguillot’s death.

The Attack Took Place on Sunday Evening at a Bus Stop in Bayonne, Southwest France, & Came After Monguillot Asked the Men to Wear Masks on the Bus

The deadly attack occurred on Sunday evening at a bus stop in Bayonne, in the southwest of France. Marc Mariée, the deputy public prosecutor of Bayonne, said at a press conference reported by AFP that Monguillot was the victim of an “extremely violent” assault.

Mariée said the driver asked for one of the four men’s tickets and requested that the other three wear face masks. Mask-wearing on public transport is compulsory in France since the COVID-19 lockdown.

The deputy prosecutor said that “there were insults and then shoving. The bus driver was pushed out of the bus. Two individuals then violently kicked and punched the upper part of his body, including his head.” He also said that Monguillot was left unconscious on the sidewalk as the four men fled the scene.

Monguillot’s fellow bus drivers were shaken by the attack and those in Bayonne said they would not be returning to work until their colleague’s funeral. The Chronoplus bus network, which serves Bayonne and nearby towns, said that their bus network has been severely affected and many lines haven’t been running since the attack.

The Bayonne mayor, Jean-René Etchegaray, expressed his condolences and offered his support to Monguillot’s colleagues. The French minister of the interior, Gérald Darmanin, also offered his condolences and pledged to bring those responsible to justice.

Monguillot Was Described by His Loved Ones as a Family Man & Former Rugby Player

Monguillot was described by his friends and family as an athletic man with a big personality. He played rugby and football in the late 1980s and continued his involvement in sport well after hanging up his cleats. His daughter Marie told Sud Ouest, “he would sometimes go to the club for dinners or would referee younger players’ matches or friendlies, for example.” She said he was still a kid at heart, a big personality who knew everybody.

Monguillot was also involved in the community as the treasurer for a neighborhood association. He became a Chronoplus bus driver in 1990 and his colleagues described him as someone passionate about driving. He had character, they said, and he was able “to kick someone off the bus” but could also “get off the bus to help old women climb in or to carry their bags.”

Monguillot’s friend and colleague of 30 years, Christophe Oyhamberri, told the outlet that the morning of the attack, Monguillot posted on Facebook a photo of his new camper and shared how excited he was to be a year away from retiring.

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