Several teenagers assaulted a Metro Transit bus driver in a noontime attack at the Southdale stop in Edina, leaving their victim with potentially "life-altering" head injuries, authorities said.

A juvenile among the several suspects questioned has been arrested in connection with the attack, which occurred Thursday, Metro Transit spokesman Howie Padilla said Saturday night.

Padilla described the 22-year Metro Transit veteran driver as suffering "very serious" injuries. While declining to be specific, Padilla did say, "I think they had the potential to be life-altering."

John Zapata, an officer with Local 1005 of the Amalgamated Transit Union, described the suspects as "thugs and hooligans. [He] did nothing wrong to provoke this physical attack."

Zapata said the driver, whose identity has yet to be released, has left Fairview Southdale Hospital and is home recuperating.

"We are all hopeful it's a full recovery," Padilla said.

Authorities were first alerted shortly after noon to trouble on the Route 515 bus, which connects the Mall of America and Southdale, according to Edina police.

The driver "had been assaulted by a group of five to seven males," the Edina police report read, going on to note the victim "had a wound to his head that was bleeding, and [he] had no recollection of the assault."

Video surveillance from inside the bus "was downloaded and now police have it," Zapata said.

Police have not disclosed whether they anticipate making more arrests and have not released descriptions of any of the teens.

Union vice president Dorothy Maki said "there is some rough public out there. Oh my gosh, we have so many assaults."

Maki said the majority of the attacks on drivers are not as violent as what occurred at Southdale. Most involve "being spit on," she said.

Noting the assault occurred around noon, when there is less concern about violence, Maki said, "There are bad people around on the system at all times of the day."

Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482