An MBTA bus driver who was attacked Saturday saw a cluster of teenagers trying to flag him down and, concerned there was an emergency, stopped his bus on Columbia Road, a prosecutor said Wednesday. More than a dozen people charged onto the bus and began assaulting the driver, while another group attacked him through the bus window, according to authorities.
The new details of the attack on the 53-year-old driver were revealed in court Wednesday, at the arraignment of Albert Galloway, 18, of Roxbury in Dorchester Municipal Court.
Assistant Suffolk District Attorney Michael Callahan said Galloway was one of the attackers and called the incident a “violent assault by multiple individuals on someone trying to do their very tough job late at night.”
A tweet and a tip from a community member helped police link Galloway, of Roxbury, to the incident.
A man approached a Transit Police officer Tuesday and said he heard an acquaintance talk about punching the bus driver. Later, officers found a posting on Twitter.
“My hands hurt from last night,’’ said the Tweet from @B_Blazeitup, which police believe is Galloway’s account.
Galloway’s attorney, Andrea McGeehan, said after the arraignment there is no proof her client posted the comment.
Galloway pleaded not guilty Wednesday to several charges, including assault and battery. He was ordered held on $15,000 cash bail.
In court, McGeehan acknowledged that her client was riding on the Route 16 bus and punched the driver but only as an instinctive reaction after he, too, came under attack by the group. McGeehan said that after being struck from behind, Galloway wheeled around and threw a punch that mistakenly landed on the driver.
She argued that Galloway should be treated as a victim of a violent assault. She said her client has no criminal record and attends the Community Academy of Science and Health.
Joseph F. O’Connor, Transit Police superintendent in chief, said Galloway’s account of self-defense is not supported by video footage from a nearby building that caught some of the altercation.
“We’re quite confident from the information that we have and the case developed by detectives that [Galloway] has been charged appropriately,” O’Connor said.
O’Connor said he was hopeful that more individuals will come forward to identify other attackers.
In court, Callahan described the attack, saying that after the driver stopped on Columbia Road, about 15 people charged onto the bus and began assaulting him, while another group began attacking him through the window.
Callahan said a second wave of attackers flowed onto the bus and kept up the assault, which only ebbed when he was able to contact MBTA dispatchers for help.
The driver, who has not been named to protect his identity, was taken to Boston Medical Center, where he was treated and released. A woman who answered the telephone at the driver’s home said he was not available to give interviews.
The MBTA general manager, Beverly A. Scott, said Wednesday that she planned to visit the bus driver at his home.
“He’s hurt,” Scott said, “and also very rattled.”
The incident has prompted calls for more protection for MBTA and other transit workers.