Man charged with assaulting bus driver who let him ride for free

A homeless man is facing assault charges after he allegedly attacked an MBTA bus driver, even after she allowed him to ride the bus for free, according to Suffolk County prosecutors.

Donnell Flattes, 23, was charged with interfering with a bus driver, indecent assault and battery, possession of a Class D substance with intent to distribute, resisting arrest, two counts each of assault and battery on a public employee, and making threats to commit a crime during his Monday arraignment in Dorchester Municipal Court, Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley’s office said. Flattes pleaded not guilty.

Flattes, who lists a Boston homeless shelter as his address, allegedly boarded an MBTA bus near Talbot Avenue in Codman Square in Dorchester Sunday night. He attempted to pay his fare with paper bills, but the machine was broken. The driver allowed Flattes to board the bus without paying, prosecutors said.


After the bus began to move, Flattes allegedly stood over the yellow line at the front of the bus, violating posted safety rules. When the bus driver asked him to move back, he cursed at her, and threw alcohol in her face, prosecutors said.

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This temporarily impaired the bus driver’s vision, forcing her to abruptly stop the bus. She pulled the vehicle over and waited for an MBTA bus inspector to arrive, prosecutors said.

Flattes then tried to place his unpaid fare in the driver’s shirt pocket, indecently assaulting her in the process, according to Conley’s office.

The bus driver, joined by a fellow passenger, asked Flattes to leave her alone, but he allegedly ignored them and tried to close the open bus doors.

Boston police and MBTA Transit Police responded to the scene and took Flattes into custody. He allegedly resisted, knocking one officer to the ground, tearing off his nameplate and cutting his arm. The officers needed to lift him into the patrol wagon, at which point he began to threaten them, prosecutors said.


Officers found seven small bags of marijuana in his pants pockets and a scale in his backpack, prosecutors said.

During Flattes’s arraignment, Judge Thomas Kaplanes revoked Flattes’s bail in an open larceny case out of Boston Municipal Court. He ordered Flattes to stay away from and have no contact with the victim or witnesses, to stay away from the MBTA, refrain from consuming alcohol while the case is pending, and attend alcohol or drug addiction support meetings.

He is to return to court June 19.

Jacqueline Tempera can be reached at Follow her on twitter @jacktemp