A member of Local 1715 (Charlotte, N.C.) lost his life over the weekend in a senseless act of gun violence after he was shot Friday while operating his bus in Charlotte, N.C.


Ethan Rivera, 41, a member of our union since May 2021, died Saturday while being treated at a Charlotte hospital. Police continue to investigate the homicide, which happened on West Trade Street near South Graham Street around 9:35 p.m., according to media reports.

Rivera had four passengers aboard his Charlotte Area Transit System bus when shots came from an SUV, police said. Rivera was hit by the gunfire, and he was taken to a hospital for treatment. No injuries to passengers were mentioned in media reports about the incident, and police continue to investigate the crime.

“Ethan was a native New Yorker who grew up in Brooklyn. When he came to work for Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS), co-workers bonded immediately to his good spirit,” said General Chairperson Joseph Paglia (GCA-TMD). “Ethan was well-liked and respected and you could not find anyone to say a negative word about him.

“He was a fun-loving man who always had a smile on his face. Ethan Rivera will be sorely missed and never forgotten. Rest in peace our friend and brother.”

Paglia said that Brother Rivera is survived by two children who were his life and that he strived to be the best father he could be. An online fundraiser has been established to benefit Brother Rivera’s family.

“This is an absolutely heartbreaking situation that we are struggling to understand,” Bus Department Vice President Alvy Hughes said. “No one should have to deal with violence while trying to make a living doing their job. My heart and prayers are with his family and friends during this difficult time, and we mourn with all who knew Brother Rivera.

“He will be missed, and we hope and pray that police are able to quickly bring the perpetrators of this absolutely inexplicable crime to justice to bring solace to both his family and to his union brothers and sisters.”

SMART Transportation Division offers its sincere condolences to Brother Rivera’s family, his friends, Local 1715 and all who knew him.

This article will be updated as additional information is received.

A memorial fund for Amtrak conductor Mike Cella, a current SMART Transportation Division member out of Local 30 in Florida, and engineer Mike Kempf, a former SMART TD member, who were tragically killed in the line of duty on Sunday, Feb. 4, has been established.
Proceeds from the fund will be used to help their families with expenses as they grieve the loss of these men in the collision of Amtrak 91 with a parked CSX freight train.
Contributions will be split evenly between the families. Please give what you can at https://www.gofundme.com/memorial-fund-for-cella-amp-kempf.
A printable PDF flyer to post at Locals is available at this link.

Brother Nicholas A. Vosejpka, of Hampton, Minn., a switchman with SMART TD Local 1614, died while on duty Dec. 30, 2017, as he worked as a yard foreman at Union Pacific’s Hoffman Yard in St. Paul, Minn.
Vosejpka, 35, was walking in the yard performing an air-test in temperatures well below zero with gusting wind at approximately 7:30 p.m. CST, Local 1614 Chairman Brad Nelsen reported. A student and new-hire switch person were with Brother Vosejpka when he collapsed, Nelsen said.
Emergency personnel responded and were unable to revive Vosejpka. UP yard crews were tied up thereafter.
“Brother Vosejpka was a hard worker, good man and a good rail worker,” said Nelsen.
Brother Vosejpka is survived by his mother, Brenda, young children Carter and Madison and extended family.
Funeral services will be at Rejoice Church in Dundas on Friday, January 5, 2018, beginning at 11 a.m. Visitation will be Thursday, January 4, 2018, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Bierman Funeral Home and one hour prior to the service in the church. Burial will be at Calvary Cemetery in Lonsdale. In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred.
A full obituary is available here.
Brother Vosejpka was the seventh SMART TD member who died while on duty in 2017.