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Dorchester man arrested in bus driver assault

A Dorchester man has been charged with assaulting a MBTA bus driver on Saturday morning.

Joel Casanova, 34, is facing charges of interfering with public transportation and assault and battery on a public employee. He was scheduled to be arraigned on Tuesday in Dorchester Municipal Court.

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MBTA Transit officers went to Blue Hill Avenue and Columbia Road after receiving reports of a disorderly man aboard a Route 22 bus at about 9:50 a.m. on Saturday. When the officers arrived, the bus driver told them that Casanova had harassed a female passenger before charging toward the driver and smashing his head into the driver’s-side window.

Casanova boarded the bus at Blue Hill Avenue and Charlotte Street and allegedly began harassing a women who asked him to leave her alone.

“[She] made it quite clear she was not interested in what Casanova had to say, nor was she interested in his company while riding the bus,” Detective Richard Sullivan, a Transit police spokesman, said Tuesday in an e-mail.

Casanova then moved to the back of the bus and began shouting threats and profanities toward the bus driver, Transit police said.

He then allegedly stood up, ran to the bus driver, grabbed his head, and shoved it against the window, officials said.

Transit police said the suspect harassed a female passenger, then smashed the driver’s head into a window.

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“Fortunately, the bus operator did not appear to suffer any serious or permanent injury,” Sullivan said.

Transit police located Casanova, who appeared to be intoxicated, walking up Blue Hill Avenue. Before he was arrested, Casanova told them he wanted to “punch the operator in the mouth” and asked an officer if he could punch him in the mouth instead, Transit police said.

Catalina Gaitan can be reached at Follow her on Twitter at @catalina_gaitan.
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