Man assaults Metro bus driver over fare dispute

On January 19th at around 6:11 a.m., a North Precinct patrol officer was on patrol southbound on 15th Avenue NE in the 4300 block when she observed a metro bus into a tree.  As she was approaching the bus to provide assistance she learned via SPD dispatch that the bus driver had been assaulted by a passenger who was still on the bus.  She requested a back-up and additional officers quickly arrived.  The officers boarded the bus, located the 40-year-old suspect and placed him under arrest.

The investigating officer learned that the suspect and the driver had been in a dispute over the $2.50 bus fare – the suspect only had $1.50.  The suspect got so upset that he was going to be late for work that he punched the driver repeatedly in the face with a closed fist.  This caused the driver to lose control of the moving bus and it collided into a tree along the city planting strip.  The roadway was covered with snow and ice and the Metro bus did have chains.  There were only three passengers on the bus including the suspect and all were identified.  Both witnesses were treated by SFD and they walked away from the scene.
 
The driver sustained bruising and swelling to his face and a possible broken right leg with lacerations from the assault.  He was taken to a nearby hospital for emergency care by Seattle Fire Department medics.  The Metro bus had to be towed from the scene.  The bus is equipped with video surveillance.  The suspect was booked into the King County Jail for felony assault.