Passenger Accused of Assaulting MBTA Bus Driver

BOSTON, May 22, 2014—A passenger on an MBTA bus was arraigned this week on charges he attacked the driver, even after she allowed him to ride for free, Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said.

DONNELL FLATTES (D.O.B. 6/5/90), who lists a Boston homeless shelter as his address, was arraigned Monday in Dorchester Municipal Court on charges of interfering with a bus driver, indecent assault and battery, possession of a Class D substance with intent to distribute, resisting arrest, and two counts each of assault and battery on a public employee and making threats to commit a crime. 

Assistant District Attorney Marc Tohme requested bail be set in the amount of $7,500 with orders that Flattes stay away and have no contact with the victim or witnesses, stay away from all MBTA property, remain alcohol free, and be subject to random urine screens in the event he is released on bail.  Tohme also requested that Flattes’ bail be revoked in an open 2013 case out of Boston Municipal Court charging him with larceny from a building.  Judge Thomas Kaplanes declined to impose monetary bail but revoked the defendant’s open bail.  He also ordered Flattes to stay away and have no contact with the victim or witnesses, stay away from the MBTA, refrain from consuming alcohol while the case is pending, and attend alcohol or drug addiction support meetings.

According to prosecutors, Flattes boarded a MBTA bus in the area of Talbot Avenue in Codman Square shortly before 8:00 p.m. Sunday.  He attempted to pay his fare with paper bills, but the fare machine was out of order and the bus driver allowed Flattes to ride the bus for free.

Though the bus was nearly empty, Flattes allegedly chose to stand over the yellow line at the front of the bus – a violation of posted safety rules.  When asked to move back behind the line, Flattes allegedly cursed at the driver and insisted that he would stay where he stood until the bus arrived at its destination of Ashmont station, prosecutors said.  When asked a second time, Flattes responded by throwing an alcoholic beverage from a cup he had in his hand onto the bus driver’s face and shoulders, causing her to temporarily lose her vision and abruptly stop the bus on Talbot Avenue, prosecutors said.

As the bus drive waited at the location for a MBTA bus inspector, Flattes made a forceful attempt to place his unpaid fare into the driver’s shirt pocket, indecently assaulting her in the process, prosecutors said.  Ignoring pleas from the bus driver and a fellow passenger to leave the victim alone, Flattes reached across the driver’s body in an attempt to shut the open bus doors, prosecutors allege.

Officers from the Boston and Transit police departments responded to the scene and placed Flattes in custody.  He violently resisted, knocking one officer to the ground, tearing off his name plate and lacerating his forearm, and requiring the officers to physically lift him into a patrol wagon for transport, prosecutors said.  Once inside, he allegedly made statements threatening the officers.

Officers found seven small bags containing marijuana in Flattes’ pants pockets and dozens of similar, empty bags and a small scale in his backpack, prosecutors said.

Flattes is represented by attorney Aditi Goel.  He will return to court June 19.


All defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.