Prosecutors charge Kent teen in Metro bus attack

King County prosecutors Wednesday charged a 17-year-old Kent male teenager with first-degree malicious mischief in connection with an attack of a Metro bus driver Jan. 23 in Tukwila. His charges stem from allegedly breaking windows on the back door of the bus and damaging the door frame.

Prosecutors also charged a 15-year-old male Renton teen with second-degree assault for attacking the 56-year-old woman driver, according to a King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office media release. The driver was beaten unconscious during the assault.

In addition, prosecutors charged a 16-year-old Tukwila male teen with first-degree malicious mischief for damaging the bus, along with the Kent teen.

Prosecutors didn't mince words about the severity of the incident.

"Any assault on a bus driver is a very serious matter," said King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg in the media release. "In addition to the harm to the bus driver, the passengers, other motorists and pedestrians are all put at risk when a driver is attacked."

The incident occurred just after midnight Jan. 23 at a bus stop at South 144th Street and International Boulevard.

Seven or eight youths gathered at the back door but only two got off before the doors closed. At least some of the group went to the front of the bus and the driver was punched in the head several times, knocking her unconscious, according to the King County Sheriff’s Office.

Meanwhile, two boys kicked and hit the rear door of the bus, breaking glass and bending the door frame. All of them ran off.

A Tukwila K-9 dog tracked the group to a house in the 13700 block of 45th Avenue South. Eight people were detained. Eventually, witnesses from the bus identified the three people booked into the Youth Center who were reportedly directly involved in the incident.

Based on the driver's injuries, second-degree assault is the maximum charge, according to the media release. Because state law sets strict parameters for allowing adult prosecution, the 15-year-old defendant is not eligible for adult prosecution because of his age, lack of criminal history and other factors.

The standard sentence range is 15 to 36 weeks in detention, but prosecutors will recommend a sentence of more than a year of incarceration if the defendant is convicted.

The Kent and Tukwila boys each face a maximum sentence of up to 30 days in detention.

The Renton and Kent boys remained in custody Wednesday at the Youth Center in Seattle. The Tukwila boy was released on electronic home monitoring.

All three are scheduled to be arraigned Jan. 28 in Juvenile Court in Seattle.

The driver was hospitalized at Valley Medical Center in Renton for treatment of her injuries and later released.

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