King County bus driver, passenger charged



SEATTLE — Both a King County Metro Transit bus driver accused of repeatedly punching a passenger and the passenger accused of spitting in the driver’s face have been charged with misdemeanor assault. The driver has been fired.

The Seattle Times reports that driver Dennis Echols, 61, told police he “lost it” after being spat on. The exchange was captured on a surveillance camera.

Prosecutors said the Nov. 18 dispute began when Echols reached the end of his route and tried to rouse sleeping passenger Ethan McKinney, 23.

Court documents say the video shows McKinney standing up and spitting in the driver’s face. Prosecutors said the driver then hit the passenger in the head with a rubber wheel block, followed him off the bus and punched him seven times.

Metro General Manager Kevin Desmond said Echols was terminated Dec. 4.