Crime

Man allegedly assaults, coughs in face of MBTA bus driver after refusing to wear a mask

The suspect allegedly grabbed a chalk block and assaulted the driver with it after being asked to get off the bus.

Daniel Rodriguez

When an MBTA bus driver asked a passenger to wear a mask, not only did the passenger allegedly cough in the driver’s face and claim he had COVID-19, he also allegedly struck the driver with a chalk block.

Daniel Rodriguez, 19, of Dorchester, is being charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, according to transit police. While he was being booked, authorities discovered he also had a warrant out of East Boston District Court for assault and battery.

It was around 7:10 a.m. on Wednesday that transit police were called to Washington and Lebanon streets in Quincy for a report of a bus driver who had been assaulted. The operator told police that Rodriguez got on the bus without a mask – the T has been requiring riders to wear a mask for more than six months.

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But Rodriguez allegedly wouldn’t put on a mask when asked, and the driver requested he get off the bus as a result, officials said. That’s when Rodriguez allegedly coughed in the driver’s face, claiming he had the virus.

“I’m not getting off the [expletive] bus,” he allegedly said. Rodriguez then allegedly grabbed the chalk block – an item used by operators when the bus is parked – and assaulted the driver. He then allegedly tried to flee the scene, according to authorities.

Police stopped Rodriguez, and the bus operator identified him as the assailant. 

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