Woman Says UTA Bus Driver Saved Her From Threatening Man

Mar 31, 2021, 10:34 PM | Updated: 10:38 pm

PROVO, Utah – A woman said she was grateful that someone saw something and said something after a man followed her onto a bus platform and verbally assaulted her.

The young woman said she found her guardian angel in the unlikeliest of places — at a bus stop.

Monday featured a lot of firsts for MacKenzie Cornell, who just moved to Utah with her fiancé.

“You wouldn’t believe it,” Cornell said. “It was my first day at work, I just started a new job in Provo.”

But Cornell wasn’t expecting what came next as she walked to the bus stop after leaving work.

That’s when Cornell noticed a man following behind then he started verbally attacking her.

“He was saying a lot of profanities that I don’t want to repeat,” Cornell said. “At one point, I was threatened for my life and I was threatened to be basically violated by this man.”

Cornell picked up the pace hoping to make it to the bus stop a block away, but the man followed her onto the platform where he cornered her on the median.

“I only took one really good look at him and that was the look that made me realize that my life was in danger because there was just nothing,” Cornell said. “When I looked into his eyes and he was looking at me, it would have been nothing for him to hurt me or harm me. I realized that he was just not going to stop and at that point, I basically had to make the decision to go onto the street and there was traffic going.”

Cornell felt forced to cross the street with traffic coming in an attempt to get away from her attacker.

“I thought I was going to be left all on my own to basically fight,” she said.

That’s when a northbound Utah Transit Authority UVX bus pulled up.

“I saw the bus driver jump out and she’s like, ‘Are you OK, are you OK?’” Cornell said.

“When she turned around and looked at me, I saw the look in her face,” said UTA bus driver Marvella Cuch.

Cuch said she initially noticed Cornell standing on a grassy area of the median. She lowered her window to warn her against standing in the dangerous spot, but as she got closer, she realized something else was going on.

Cuch parked the bus at the platform and jumped out. Cuch said she ran toward the duo and stepped between them to protect Cornell before the man turned his frustration on her.

“I think he got mad that I got in the way,” Cuch said. “He turned around and looks at me and says, ‘You need to die, die’… and I start running back to the bus and he followed me. He then entered the bus from the middle section.”

Cuch rushed to call dispatch for back up then turned to chase the man off the bus, saying she was concerned for the 15-20 other passengers on board.

“He starts saying all these profanities, raising his arms and then he darts out of the bus after her,” Cuch said.

“I thought that was going to be it for me,” Cornell said.

Cuch said she then ran off the bus and chased after the man. She yelled that she was going to call the police and said that’s when the man darted and ran away.

Somehow, Cuch managed to get Cornell on the bus and locked the doors until Provo police arrived. The man was found pacing up and down the sidewalk across the street from the platform, located on 592 North University Avenue.

“At one point she and I held each other and we both cried,” Cuch said.

“I just needed that so bad and I think she knew it,” Cornell said. “And we just embraced and she stayed with me.”

Cornell didn’t get a chance to thank Cuch, but she called her a guardian angel.

“I think in that situation, we were both thankful to be safe,” Cuch said.

The women haven’t had a chance to meet each other, but it’s something they’re looking forward to.

The man was charged with disorderly conduct and trespassing, but Provo police said there may be more charges coming as they interview the victims involved.

Cornell did not get a chance to provide a statement at the scene because she was helped onto the bus as the man was being detained.

Sgt. Nisha King with the Provo Police Department said they got a call from a clerk at the 7-Eleven as well and were already en route when the call came in from the bus driver.

King said the suspect is not the same man accused of groping multiple women on the BYU campus this past weekend.

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Woman Says UTA Bus Driver Saved Her From Threatening Man