Subway conductor, bus operator first-known MTA coronavirus deaths

Peter Petrassi and Oliver Cyrus
Photo credit Facebook/TWULocal100
By 1010 WINS

NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- A veteran subway conductor and bus operator are the first-known coronavirus-related deaths at the MTA.

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Peter Petrassi, 49, died Thursday morning, his family said.

Petrassi, of Queens, worked in the transit agency's subway department for 20 years and is the first of the more than 70,000-person MTA workforce to die from COVID-19.

"The death due to the Coronavirus of our brother, Peter Petrassi, is a terrible tragedy," Tony Utano, President TWU Local 100 said in a statement. "TWU Local 100 feels this loss and mourns with his family. Conductor Petrassi’s passing is a line-of-duty death just as if he had been killed on the job in any number of ways that have struck down transit workers in years past. Transit workers are saddened. The MTA must NOW provide masks to frontline transit workers. Otherwise, the moment is rapidly approaching where bus and subway workers will do what is necessary to protect themselves and their families. Dedication and duty does not mean using transit workers as cannon fodder."

Petrassi's nephew Dylan posted on Facebook that his Uncle Peter was "was the most kind loving adventurous food enthusiastic person." 

"Our hearts are absolutely broken. Peter was a vital member of our team, and a valued friend," MTA Transit chief Sarah Feinberg said in a statement. "We are honored to have worked with him, and our thoughts are with his family and loved ones."

Peter Petrassi and Oliver Cyrus

Oliver Cyrus, a 61-year-old bus operator, also died Thursday, officials said.

Cyrus was a bus operator for the Manhattan and Bronx Surface Transit Operating Authority, which is a subsidiary of the MTA, according to the Daily News.

Cyrus worked drove buses for 21 years and lived in Brooklyn. He was born in Guyana.

Transport Workers Union vice president Richard David told the Daily News that “Oliver was well liked by all of his co-workers.”

“The workers at Manhattanville are all very upset. There’s a somber mood at the depot,” David said.

The MTA said more than 50 of its employees have the coronavirus. 

There are at least 23,112 coronavirus cases citywide and at least 365 people have died, according to officials.

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