Wash. Bus Driver, Passenger Charged With Assault - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Wash. Bus Driver, Passenger Charged With Assault

SEATTLE (AP) - Both a King County Metro Transit bus driver accused of repeatedly punching a passenger and the passenger accused of spitting in the driver's face have been charged with misdemeanor assault. The driver has been fired.

The Seattle Times reports (http://is.gd/nQjvIg) that 61-year-old Dennis Echols told police he "lost it" after being spat on. The exchange was captured on a surveillance camera.

Prosecutors say the Nov. 18 dispute began when Echols reached the end of his route and tried to rouse sleeping 23-year-old passenger Ethan McKinney, only to have the man stir, then drop back to sleep.

Court documents say the video shows McKinney standing up and spitting in the driver's face. That's when prosecutors say the driver struck the passenger in the head with a rubber wheel block, followed him off the bus and punched him seven times.

Metro General Manager Kevin Desmond said Echols' actions were inexcusable, and he was terminated Dec. 4. The Metro official says the driver has filed a grievance with his union.

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Information from The Seattle Times is included in this report.

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Information from: The Seattle Times, http://www.seattletimes.com

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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