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MBTA bus driver faces assault and battery charges

MBTA bus driver Lataria Milton released on $2,500 cash bail, and is due back in court on Oct. 16.

An MBTA bus driver was arraigned on charges that she intentionally drove her vehicle into a Boston Transportation Department employee trying to give her a ticket, Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said Friday.

Lataria Milton, 34, of Somerville faced a judge in Roxbury District Court on Friday, where she was charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon -- a motor vehicle -- and reckless operation of a motor vehicle for the incident in Kenmore Square Thursday.

Assistant District Attorney Linda Champion recommended cash bail of $2,500. Judge David Weingarten released Milton on her own recognizance. She is is due back in court on Oct. 16.

Milton was arrested around 2 p.m. Thursday, about six hours after the incident happened.

From her hospital bed, the victim told investigators that she had instructed Milton to move the bus from the area on Beacon Street in Kenmore Square, where it was illegally parked, but that Milton ignored her in favor of eating breakfast inside the bus, Conley said.

When she saw the victim begin writing a citation, Milton allegedly started the bus and drove around her van. The victim soon caught up with her and attempted to place the ticket on the bus' window, Conley said.

It was at that point, the victim said, that Milton accelerated, striking her and the driver’s side door of her van. Two fellow Transportation Department employees corroborated that account. The victim was taken to Brigham and Women’s Hospital with injuries deemed not life-threatening, Conley said.

The van door was nearly ripped off its hinges.

The bus also struck a Subaru, forcing that car into the rear of a second car and causing damage to both vehicles. The Subaru was forced forward into the driver’s side of a third vehicle. The Subaru had to be towed due to the damage it had sustained; none of the occupants were injured.

Milton allegedly gave a statement in which she claimed that the bus spontaneously rolled forward when the victim attempted to place the ticket on her window. Mechanics from both the MBTA and the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities inspected the vehicle and found not defects or brake failure.

Based on witness statements and a review of surveillance imagery, Transit Police placed Milton under arrest and requested that the Registry of Motor Vehicles suspend her license as an immediate threat.

Boston Transportation Department Spokesman Jim Mansfield said that the parking attendant has been on the job for over 20 years.

"Last I spoke to her, she was in a lot of pain," Mansfield said Thursday, adding that she was in a neck brace, and that he did not know the extent of her injuries. "She is very disturbed."

 
 
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