Transit Police report arresting a Saugus man after he started choking a bus driver for no good reason they could tell and another passenger had to pull him off.
Police say Franco Contino rode a 426 bus from Haymarket in Boston to Saugus without incident last Wednesday afternoon.
But when the bus stopped on Lincoln Avenue to let passengers off, Contino erupted in fury and began cursing out the driver, Transit Police say:
The bus operator confused as to what precipitated the male's anger towards him asked if the male was getting off the bus or remaining on board. The male did not respond but intently stared at the operator. The operator then closed the door and attempted to continue on. At this time the male shouted for the operator to stop and open the doors, the operator complied with the request and the male exited but remained in the doorway preventing the operator from closing the door. Suddenly the male re-boarded the bus and attacked the operator by placing both his hands around the operator's throat and choking him. At this time the bus was in gear but the operator had his foot on the brake. The operator was able to engage the emergency brake system thus preventing the bus from rolling forward.
Another male passenger who was witnessing the attack intervened and was able to extract the assailant's hands from the operator's throat and bring the assailant to the floor of the bus.
Contino ran away from the scene, police say. But T detectives tracked him down and arrested him around 11:30 a.m. today, police say, adding he is scheduled for arraignment tomorrow in Lynn District Court on charges of interfering with public transportation and assault and battery on a public employee.
The MBTA reports Contino is the 16th person charged with attacking a T worker this year.
On May 6, the T launched a PSA campaign alerting riders that attacking T workers is against the law.