Man who assaulted Muni operator set to appear in court

Muni operator Carla Romero was reportedly attacked by a man on Third Street. (Courtesy Carla Romero)

Muni operator Carla Romero was reportedly attacked by a man on Third Street. (Courtesy Carla Romero)

A man who allegedly beat Muni operator Carla Romero after an apparent road-rage dispute in mid-August is set to appear in court Friday.

The 68-year-old alleged assailant is set to face arraignment on a misdemeanor assault charge in San Francisco Superior Court, said District Attorney’s Office spokesperson Alex Bastian.

The San Francisco Examiner has chosen not to publish the defendant’s name because he has no prior criminal history and his case may soon be placed under seal to protect his identity.

Both parties gave different accounts of who started the fight, but the DA’s office reviewed SFMTA surveillance footage from outside the bus that appears to show the defendant first shoving Romero before the two engaged in the altercation.

Romero, 32, was driving a 30-Stockton bus on 3rd Street at 9 a.m. on 3rd Street past Mission Street, she said, when Muni dispatch told her to take the bus into the yard for repair. She pulled over and exited her vehicle, she said, to attach the trolley poles of the bus to a different set of wires, which would allow her to change direction.

That’s when she said her alleged assailant zoomed past her vehicle. She said he appeared irate she had perhaps cut him off. He exited his car and approached her.

“He put his hands on me, he pushed me back,” she told the San Francisco Examiner in August.

In response, she said, “I threw a punch.”

Romero and her alleged assailant were both cited for misdemeanor battery at the scene of the altercation on Mission and 3rd streets, Bastian said. No charges were filed against Romero.

Paul Rose, a spokesperson for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, said Romero is not currently operating vehicles for Muni, and is on “light duty.”

“We are doing everything we can to help provide a safe environment for our frontline employees,” Rose said.

In the wake of the attack on Romero and other Muni operators, SFMTA started a campaign called #KeepThemSafe with billboards across Muni vehicles to encourage driver safety. AssaultMuniSFMTATransit

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