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Metro bus driver arrested

[This post has been updated]

A Metro bus driver was arrested and charged with simple assault on Friday after he got into an altercation with a disorderly customer over the bus fare.

Metro Transit Police tyson.gifcharged Vento Mickens with simple assault after he clashed with the customer at about 5:30 p.m. near Georgia Avenue and Van Buren Street NW, inflicting minor injuries.

Mickens was driving the 71 route to Buzzard Point when the incident took place.

Mickens, who has been a bus operator since December 1986, is on administrative leave pending an internal investigation, Metro spokeswoman Cathy Asato said.

-- Ann Scott Tyson

By Michael Bolden  | June 18, 2010; 5:41 PM ET
Categories:  Metro  
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Comments

So what, 30 days until he's back on the job with full back pay and benefits?

WMATA is a bloody joke.

Posted by: reiflame1 | June 18, 2010 6:22 PM | Report abuse

I'm inclined to agree with reiflame's statement. However, if since 1986, he hasn't attacked anyone else, he should be given the benefit of the doubt. There are some very disgusting people on metro these days. They look for fights and trouble.

Posted by: FiatBooks | June 18, 2010 7:23 PM | Report abuse

Are they sure this was not self-defense? I have also witnessed disruptive passengers on a bus who were looking for a fight. The driver tried very hard to ignore them but it sounds like this driver responded because he was probably fed up or he was baited. Sounds like the police are getting very "technical" here and it was a "gotcha" moment. I feel for the guy if he's been driving since 1986 and then this happens.

Posted by: SusanMarie2 | June 18, 2010 7:56 PM | Report abuse

How about equipping buses with some sort of hotline to Metro who in turn would notify MPD???? Just a button closeby the driver would push, no talking necessary...

There should be no need to clash with a passenger unless it is in self defense...also how about cameras on buses...they have them on school buses...if not on all, place them on certain routes...we all know the trouble spots as a rule....

Posted by: pentagon40 | June 18, 2010 9:36 PM | Report abuse

And add a GPS device for easy location...we are in a modern age and technology would help clear up any doubts after an incident....

Posted by: pentagon40 | June 18, 2010 9:40 PM | Report abuse

I'm thinking there's more here than we know yet. No way someone who's been on the job since '86, with (apparently) no prior incidents like this, is going to let themselves get caught up in an altercation for no reason.

Posted by: pikamander007 | June 18, 2010 10:13 PM | Report abuse

The bus driver was probably right and just doing some TCB. They get attacked and spit on and some cities are putting drivers in protective booths. One sees the worst people on public transportation.

Posted by: Calabrese99 | June 19, 2010 3:11 AM | Report abuse

If you ride public transpo daily, you see and hear the vile ridiculousness that takes place and you wonder why MORE drivers haven't pulled the bus over and beaten the dogcrap outta some of these azzclowns. Metro may have a poor safety record for employees, but they certainly train them to have restraint from assaulting folks cause I've seen a few acts that warranted a good clockcleaning and woulda testified on Metro behalf had it gone down.

Metro needs more police to keep the entire system orderly...period

Posted by: kahlua87 | June 19, 2010 7:14 AM | Report abuse

I too would question the behavior of the driver esp if he/she were new to the job; however, this driver has been with metro since 86 I believe and has learned how to approrpriately deal with such customers. This driver is likely innocent of charges and was merely protecting himself in most likelihood. The drivers have one of the hardest and most dangerous jobs in the city.

Posted by: davidmswyahoocom | June 19, 2010 7:21 AM | Report abuse

The driver has 14 years experience. Unless the record is littered with altercation incidents, it is likely the passenger pushed one button too many. Also, what happened? Who swung first? Did the passenger use a weapon or something that could be used as a weapon? What exactly happened. That's the problem with these posts. We don't get the full story, only the outcome: driver arrested for assault. Oh yeah? As mom said, there's three sides to every story - my side, your side, and the facts of what really happened.

Posted by: sue1047 | June 19, 2010 9:07 AM | Report abuse

It seems unlikely that an experienced driver with a decent employment record would assault a passenger without some provocation, and especially during a period when Metro has received substantial negative press. I'd prefer to wait for an investigation of the incident and disclosure of the facts, rather than rushing to pounce on the driver. I would also give him the benefit of the doubt because Metro bus and rail does carry some troublemakers, some of whom we've read about in recent violent incidents at the Metro stations.

Posted by: logosdesigns | June 19, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

@sue1047--

You might want to check your math. December 1986 is a little more than 14 years ago...

Posted by: ceebee2 | June 19, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Let's understand Metro's ofical position regarding bus driver interaction with unruly passengers. If a driver is in his seat and is PHYSICALLY attacked by a passenger he is NOT allowed to fight back. He has a phone above his head that he is expected to use to call for help. Of course nothing prevents the passenger from continuing his attack while the operator is trying to make the call. Common sense would indicate that the operator must first stop the physical attack so he can call for help. Unless he can stop it verbally he must take physical action to stop the attack. That results in a charge of simple assault. Notice that it was the Metro police who charged him not the District police.

Posted by: Jimof1913 | June 20, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

If the customer was disorderly, the driver should get a medal.

Posted by: fireball72 | June 20, 2010 11:08 PM | Report abuse

I do wonder what the specific details occurred with this event. Was the driver provoked into an attack? Was it self defense? Or did the driver really just lose it and assault the customer (just because the customer was disorderly doesn't mean force was needed)?

That being said, I have witnessed these events unfold countless times. Someone gets on and doesn't have money to pay, doesn't want to pay, etc. It always happens more often after a fare increase too, not believing the price has changed or they "claim" to not speak English and don't understand. At times it is annoying and an inconvenience because these customers will hold up the bus as the driver will usually not continue until they have paid.

At other times, the situation can turn quite dangerous. I have seen customers get very verbally violent, threatening the driver, etc. If the driver has continued driving, it makes for a very unsafe driving situation as the driver and customer continue to argue. Times like that I worry for my own safety. I have seen drivers put up with a lot of crap and am thankful for the good ones out there.

Posted by: UMDTerpsGirl | June 21, 2010 10:42 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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