Bus-ted: MTA driver arrested for alledgely choking teen, locking him in bus

Bus-ted: MTA driver arrested for alledgely choking teen, locking him in bus

He saw something, said something, and then took it a bit too far.

Police arrested Metropolitan Transportation Authority bus driver Toussaint Cummings on April 8 after he allegedly choked a teenage straphanger and refused to let him off the bus.

The 19-year-old victim boarded Cummings’s B6 bus at the corner of Bay Parkway and Bath Avenue in Bensonhurst at 11:19 am, bringing a small dog with him, police said. Cummings then hounded the straphanger, saying that he wanted the dog gone, but the young man wouldn’t budge, so Cummings allegedly attacked him, wrapping his hands around the youth’s throat and squeezing hard enough to leave a mark without forcing the kid to pass out, police said.

Cummings then allegedly refused let the victim — and his dog — off the bus. The teen eventually escaped through the back door, officials said.

Police are charging Cummings with criminal obstruction of breathing, a Class E felony, and unlawful imprisonment, a misdemeanor, according to law enforcement sources. Officers issued Cummings, who lives on Long Island, a desk appearance ticket because he had a clean criminal record, officials said.

Only service animals are allowed on city busses, according to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. The hound was not a service animal, police said.

The authority’s definition of service animal does not include therapy animals or animals used for emotional support, according to a spokeswoman.

But Cummings, a 19-year transit veteran, violated authority policy in engaging the teen, she said.

“We tell our operators not to get into confrontations with customers,” said authority spokeswoman Amanda Kwan. “They’re just supposed to inform customers of the policy.”

Cummings, who has a good safety record and no previous customer complaints, has been removed from service pending an investigation, she said.

Cummings did not respond to messages left at his Long Island home.

Reach reporter Max Jaeger at mjaeger@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–8303. Follow him on Twitter @JustTheMax.