2 teens charged with assaulting MBTA bus driver

2 teens charged with assaulting MBTA bus driver

By O’Ryan Johnson and Richard Weir  |   Thursday, April 14, 2011  |  http://www.bostonherald.com  |  Local Coverage

Two teens were arrested last night on charges of assaulting an MBTA bus driver Monday afternoon, in an incident that ended with a bizarre crash that injured five and trapped one suspect’s foot under a bus tire, Transit Police said.

Felix Garcia, 18, and Michael Baptista, 19, both of Roxbury, face charges of interfering with a bus driver and assault and battery on a public employee. Baptista also is charged with threats to commit a crime. The interference charge is a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Police said it all started when the driver told a smoker on the bus to snuff it. Witnesses told police as many as five people attacked the driver, who lost control of the bus. It hopped a curb, knocked down a crosswalk signal and slammed into a barber shop.

Police said Garcia was the teen who was pinned by the bus for about 40 minutes, and loudly thanked the crowd and rescuers as he was wheeled away by Boston EMS on a gurney. Boston firefighters used a powerful jack to lift the bus off his foot. A total of five people were injured, including a 9-year-old girl whose head slammed into a bus fixture during the crash.

MBTA Deputy Superintendent Joseph O’Connor said police do not believe the driver purposefully hit Garcia with the bus.

“We don’t believe there was any intent to pin or assault Mr. Garcia,” O’Connor said. “We believe this was all part of his exiting which caused him to get pinned.”

Deputy Transit Police Chief Lewis Best said, “They punched (the driver) repeatedly and pushed his face into the window. He was briefly knocked unconscious. The bus was in gear and his foot came off the brake as these two individuals tried to run off the bus.”

Article URL: http://www.bostonherald.com/news/regional/view.bg?articleid=1330664

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