DALLAS - DART officials say an attack on their bus driver Tuesday evening at the end of the route left the driver bruised and scraped.
It happened around 6:00 p.m. at the last stop, Brookhaven Community College in Farmers Branch. One passenger on the bus captured the fight on his cell phone camera, but didn't dare try to break up.
Fists were flying. The bus operator is seen trying to defend himself.
Tim Newby, the interim DART Vice President of Transportation, explained what happened.
"This person was sleep in the back of the bus, and so the operator went back to awake the individual...he was very hostile and actually struck operator," Newby said.
The suspect is Gerrette Olen Aboumrad, who is now charged with assault on a public servant. His mug shot shows he has a black eye.
The bus driver refused medical treatment and is on paid administrative leave, pending the investigation.
The video has been posted on YouTube and Aboumrad is heard saying on tape, "I was sleeping, man!" as the bus operator is trying to restrain the suspect. The driver held down Aboumrad until Brookhaven Community College police arrived.
"These situations do occur, obviously," Newby said. "We expect our operators to avoid conflict, however if they are attacked, they do have a right to defend themselves."
DART officials are investigating what their bus operator did to try to wake the passenger. The policy calls for no touching of passengers, but rather to wake them up by tapping the seat.
There has been an increase in attacks on bus drivers. DART says they used to average two attacks per month, now that number is growing to three fights per month on their buses. Later this year, DART said new buses will contain security cameras and a barrier behind the driver's seat to separate the driver from passengers. Just a couple of measures to better protect everyone on board their DART buses.