A Metro Transit bus driver has been charged with assault after a fight with a passenger on his bus in St. Paul.
James Yang faces three misdemeanor counts, including assault, disorderly conduct and criminal damage to property. A complaint released by the St. Paul city attorney says police were called to a bus near University and Dale Street on Oct. 2, just before noon. They found Yang on the bus threatening a female passenger with a hammer. She was wielding a knife.
The complaint against Yang says the fight started when the woman took a photo of him with her cell phone and that he took her phone. Metro Transit police told prosecutors a video tape shows her struggling to get the phone back. Yang said he threw the phone to the ground and police say he was seen punching her twice more in the head.
The driver and the passenger suffered minor injuries during the fight, and the passenger's phone was broken.
Metro Transit spokesman John Siqveland in statement said Yang has a safe driving record going back 13 years. He began driving a bus in 1999. He had not been disciplined prior to the incident, except for a "verbal warning for attendance earlier this year." The statement continues:
"While the matter was investigated, Yang was withheld from work until last Friday. Pursuant to a contractual grievance procedure, he is now on a 'last chance' agreement with Metro Transit, will undergo mandatory counseling, and faces termination for any future misconduct."