June 19, 2010

WHACK: Metro bus driver arrested for assaulting passenger

WASHINGTON - A Metro bus driver has been arrested for assaulting a passenger. The incident happened around 5:30 a.m. Friday on an inbound #71 bus at the corner of Georgia Avenue and Van Buren Street. A spokeswoman for Metro characterized the incident as an "altercation" between the driver and a "disorderly" customer. A witness, who declined to give his name, told FOX 5 that the passenger appeared to be elderly and developmentally disabled. Metro would release no details about the passenger. In any case, Metro Transit Police were summoned to the scene, conducted an investigation, and proceeded to arrest the bus driver. Vento Mickens, who has been driving Metro buses since 1986, was charged with simple assault. Metro said the passenger was treated on the scene by an ambulance crew, and declined an offer to be checked out at a local hospital. Metro spokeswoman Cathy Asato said the transit agency trains its bus drivers to inform passengers of the rules, and not enforce the rules.

Mickens, the driver, has been suspended with pay until the transit system investigates the incident. There have been a series of violent incidents in recent years involving Metro bus drivers, including the case where one bus driver got out of his vehicle and punched a police officer wearing a "McGruff The Crime Dog" costume. Another Metro driver was convicted of assaulting a woman passenger who testified that he pushed her down a stairwell at a Metro station. Asato said the transit agency is developing new training for bus drivers to help them cope better with passengers in disruptive or dangerous situations. SOURCE: FOX DC

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