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'The Lord was on my side that day': HART bus driver attacked on bus shares terrifying story

Posted at 4:59 PM, Nov 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-20 23:30:35-05

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. --- With bandages wrapped around both legs and stitches all over his body, Schnaider Prophete is just glad he’s here to talk about what happened on his HART bus Tuesday afternoon.

"The Lord was on my side that day,” Prophete said. "I think it was a saving angel that came in, and fortunately he didn’t get hurt, too."

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Prophete is overwhelmingly grateful for the man who stepped in and likely saved his life after the Tampa Police Department say a passenger, James Ambrose, brutally attacked him.

John Phelps was another passenger on the bus when the attack happened.

"He’s a good Samaritan and he’s a veteran like I am,” Prophete said. "I appreciate what he did and I would like to meet him one day.”

Prophete says Ambrose became angry over bus fare and that’s when he took out mace and sprayed him in the face. Right after that, he says Ambrose came after him with a box cutter.

"Somehow I ended up on the floor and he was trying to get my vital organs,” Prophete said.

This comes six months after another HART bus operator, Thomas Dunn, was stabbed and killed by a passenger, according to police.

HART is in the process of installing barriers on every bus because of that incident. However, Prophete’s bus did not have a barrier and he thinks they aren’t being installed fast enough.

He also thinks bus drivers need more protection.

"Other drivers who are qualified to have a concealed weapon should have one in their possession to protect themselves,” Prophete said.

Ambrose had his first court appearance Wednesday and is being held without bond. He will be in court Monday for a pretrial hearing.

HART released the following statement regarding Tuesday's violent incident.