A Minneapolis teenager, mad that he was kept momentarily from boarding a bus, was charged Monday with punching a Metro Transit bus driver several times outside Southdale in Edina and inflicting serious head injuries.
The 16-year-old was charged by juvenile petition in Hennepin County District Court with third-degree assault/substantial bodily harm. The county attorney’s office released the teen’s name, but the Star Tribune withholds the identity of juveniles charged with felonies in some situations.
The charging document also says the boy and the driver exchanged “vulgar language” during the confrontation early Thursday afternoon.
Also Monday, the injured driver was identified by Metro Transit as Arthur D. Hayne, 61, of Inver Grove Heights. Hayne has driven for Metro Transit for 22 years. Transit spokesman Howie Padilla said earlier that Hayne’s injuries were considered potentially “life-altering.”
Hayne’s injuries include a fractured eye socket, a broken nose and a cut to his face, the petition against the boy noted.
Police said several teenagers were involved in the assault. Police in neighboring Richfield located the suspects, and transit police arrived and took one into custody. No other arrests have been reported.
Hayne, who is also a representative in Local 1005 of the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU), declined to comment to the Star Tribune about the incident. He has been released from Fairview Southdale Hospital.
Video surveillance from inside the bus has been collected as evidence. Padilla said that “as this is an ongoing investigation, we won’t be releasing it any time soon.”
Asked to comment on how Hayne handled the confrontation, Padilla declined and said, "We continue our hopes that the driver makes a full recovery. There will be plenty of time to review the entire incident going forward."
According to the charging document:
Metro Transit police arrived at W. 66th Street and York Avenue S and saw Hayne, driver of the No. 515 bus connecting Southdale and Minneapolis, with a cut over his left eye that “was bleeding profusely.”
Hayne appeared to be “significantly disoriented,” indicating other head injuries. An emergency medical technician was worried that Hayne’s left eye “may have been permanently impaired or lost.”
A passenger on the bus told police that five boys were outside and approached the bus as the driver was pulling forward in the transit center. One of the boys then hit the bus so it could stop and let them on. Hayne opened the door and told the boys that it was not yet time to board.
One of the boys and the driver began arguing. The driver, holding a can of soda, got out of the bus. One of the boys knocked the can from Hayne’s hand. As the driver bent down for the can, the boy who had been arguing punched the driver in the head, sending Hayne to the pavement.
The same boy then punched Hayne three more times “as the driver lay on the ground.”
The witness left his seat on the bus to help Hayne, and the boys fled.
Soon after, police officers located the teens at the intersection of 69th Street and Thomas Avenue in Richfield. One of the boys pointed out who attacked Hayne.
After being read his rights, the suspect admitted to punching the driver but also accused him of directing “disparaging language” at the teens.
The suspect also accused the driver of “swinging the can” and striking him in the chin.
Video surveillance from the bus captured the confrontation and included Hayne directing “vulgar language” at the boys, and the suspect doing the same toward the driver. However, while the video showed the driver being struck, it does not show hitting the boy in the chin with the soda can.
Local 1005 President Mark Lawson said Monday that “there’s an ebb and flow” to the number of violent incidents involving drivers. “But they continue to happen,” Lawson said. “Whether a little or a lot, they never stop.”