LYNN — It is an experience familiar to most bus riders: a chase to catch a departing bus, desperate bangs on the door, the despair of watching the vehicle disappear into the distance.
But when an Everett man was left by a Route 455 bus outside Wonderland station, he sought revenge, police say.
Paul J. Kouroyen, 33, pleaded not guilty Friday in Lynn District
Court to charges of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, a shod
foot, after prosecutors said he attacked the MBTA driver who had pulled
out of Wonderland Station Thursday night and refused to stop to pick
Bail was set at $1,000 cash, and Kouroyen was ordered to stay off
the Route 455 bus. He was also ordered to avoid the driver and a witness
who identified him to police.
The driver was identified in court papers and by the MBTA as Baulo
Rodrigues, though the mailbox at his listed address read Paulo
Susan Dolhun, assistant Essex district attorney, said Kouroyen
attempted to board the Route 455 bus after it left Wonderland Station in
Revere, chasing the bus and banging on the side door. Rodrigues did not
open the door because the bus was en route, Dolhun said.
“There was no reason for Mr. Rodrigues to stop the bus in the first
place in Revere when it wasn’t at a designated stop,” Dolhun said.
Kouroyen took the next bus to Lynn, the Route 439 bus, authorities
say. In a bizarre twist, that bus arrived at Lynn’s Central Square 12
minutes before the one he originally attempted to board.
After arriving in Central Square, police said, Kouroyen found the bus
that had left him in Revere and confronted the driver with angry words.
He then moved to the back of the bus, but when Rodrigues called MBTA
officials to report the confrontation, police say Kouroyen returned to
the front of the bus and began punching and kicking the driver.
“He [Rodrigues] tried to defend himself, but during the struggle
Kouroyen kicked him in the left shin,” the Transit Police report said.
Kouroyen fled as Lynn police arrived, but they quickly located him
nearby and arrested him after he was identified as the attacker, police
“This defendant violently assaulted the bus driver, apparently when
there were people on the bus in a public area,” Dolhun said. “He
obviously has some serious anger issues.”
Kouroyen’s lawyer said his client has had “very few” criminal convictions on his record, all for motor vehicle charges.
He is unemployed, attends Bunker Hill Community College, and lives with his grandmother in Everett, the lawyer said.
The 50-year-old driver was taken to Union Hospital in Lynn for
treatment. He sustained bruises to his left and right cheek and
lacerations on his left leg and on his fingers, Transit Police said.
Rodrigues, a 12-year T veteran, is recovering at home and is expected
to return to work, MBTA acting General Manager Jonathan Davis said.
Hostility toward bus and train operators is a problem that has worried T officials for a while, Davis said Friday.
Last May, in a report to the MBTA board of directors, Davis said he
had noticed an increase in assaults on MBTA operators, particularly
people spitting on drivers attempting to collect fares, and called the
behavior “outrageous and disgusting.”
At Davis’s direction, the MBTA launched a “thanks for being nice”
campaign earlier this year to encourage passengers to treat T operators
Hundreds of cards were distributed with the message: “We appreciate
you riding the T, but we also appreciate when you’re nice to our bus
operators, too. They are doing all they can to ensure a safe, pleasant
trip for all.”
At this point in 2011, 62 assaults on MBTA employees were reported,
said MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo. So far this year, 68 assaults have
“I understand that customers are experiencing stress and dealing with
challenges in their life,” Davis said, “but assaulting an MBTA employee
is never appropriate.”
For bus passengers waiting at Wonderland Station Friday afternoon,
news that a bus driver was treated with disrespect was not surprising.
Stefan Sandman, a 22-year-old student living in Chelsea, recalled an
episode last week on the Route 117 bus, where a passenger, incensed that
the driver missed his stop, made disparaging comments about her weight.
“I have seen a little more attitude lately towards bus drivers,” Sandman said.
Shana Otolo, 27, who takes the bus every day from Lynn to her job at a
dentist’s office in Government Center, said she has witnessed abusive
“I see it all the time, yelling at bus drivers, taking advantage of the fact that they can’t do anything back,” said Otolo.
Friday morning, Otolo said, the driver of her bus talked with
passengers about her worries after hearing about the assault in Lynn.
“Maybe I shouldn’t open the door after yesterday,” Otolo recalled the driver saying.
T bus driver attacked by man who got irate when he was left behind at Wonderland bus stop - Metro - The Boston Globe