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Man arrested, charged with assaulting Metrobus driver

The man suspected of assaulting a Metrobus driver. (Photo, Metro Transit Police)

A man who missed a Metrobus at an Alexandria bus stop, took a Metro train to catch up with the bus driver and assaulted her last Wednesday.

Metro Transit Police announced Tuesday evening that Michael S. Powell, Jr., 27, of Alexandria, Va., was arrested for assault on a Metrobus operator.

Missing the bus is irritating for some riders and their reactions are reasonable most of the time.

“I’m like, ‘Ah, man!’ You know I’m trying to get to work or I’m trying to get to where I need to go,” said Garrett Treese, an Alexandria resident.

“When I miss my bus, I feel like I miss my whole day,” said District resident Harry Floyd.

“I’m mad. Like, I missed where I’m supposed to go,” said Tiana Richardson, an Alexandria resident.

One rider last Wednesday took his frustrations too far. Around 11 p.m. The man missed his bus at the Braddock Road Metro Station. Instead of waiting for the next one, he jumped on the Yellow Line.

It turns out, the man didn’t take the metro to get to his final destination, he did it to catch up with the bus driver.

“Oh, ok. I guess that’s rational now. In a crazy sort of way,” said Dave Johnson, a visitor from New York.

A few stops after boarding the train, he arrived at the Huntington Metro Station and got on the bus he missed on Braddock Road. He then confronted the female driver.

“I don’t even know. I don’t know why he did that. That was rude,” said Richardson.

Another rider tried to intervene but was attacked. Then the man reached around the bus shield and punched the driver, breaking her tooth.

“Well that makes me scared for bus drivers,” said Jennifer Dinkelmeyer, of Fairfax County.

The incident shocked other passengers.

“Wow. That’s not really ok,” said Treese.

“No. That’s unacceptable,” said Michael Vepalon, an Alexandria, VA resident.

“Bully. He’s a bully,” said Floyd.

The bus driver union spokesperson told ABC7 News the driver is doing “relatively well.”

“Any attack on a Metro employee, whether it is an operator or maintenance that work on vehicles in the field, places everyone on the bus, and even the public around the buses in danger,” said Raymond Jackson, the ATU Local 689 second vice president whose union represents driver. “It has been almost a week since this incident and the leadership at Metro has done very little to inform the public that this happened. We find that unacceptable.”

That union is calling for Virginia and D.C. to follow Maryland's example of making it a felony to physically assault a transit worker.

“A message needs to be sent to reassure the riding public and the transit workers that they can have a safe ride every time they take a bus or train in Maryland, D.C. or Virginia,” Jackson said.

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