Dayton RTA bus driver Rickey Wagoner was saved by the Bible early Monday morning. Not in the religious sense of the word, but his life was literally rescued by the Bible paraphrase edition he was keeping in his breast pocket from two bullets.
Wagoner, 49, was stopped along the roadside working on his bus around 5 am on February 24th. According to surveillance footage, the driver was in his seat when the vehicle was approached by three black teenagers wearing dark hoodies and blue bandanas. Before they arrived at the door of his RTA (regional transit authority) vehicle he overheard one of the young men say, “If you want to be all the way in the club, you have to kill the polar bear.”
“Polar bear” is a slang term used to refer to white men and is associated with polar bear attacks. Much like the now infamous “knockout game”, polar bear attacks involve black on white violence.
Startled by their presence at such an early hour in the morning, Rickey Wagoner turned to face the door. One of the suspects opened fire, getting off three shots before he could respond. One bullet went through his leg and the other two were aimed right at his chest. Amazingly, they never found their way into his skin. A Bible paraphrase known as The Message saved his life by stopping the two bullets. He later described the feeling to a 911 dispatcher as feeling “like I’ve been hit with a sledgehammer.”
Just as confused by the bullet stopping Bible as their victim, one of the attackers pulled a knife and attempted to stab him to death. Only able to lacerate his arm, Wagoner then pulled an aluminum knife from his pocket and fought back. Given a second chance by the Bible, he did all he could to survive.
“I stabbed one in the leg with my pen,” Wagoner told the 911 dispatcher. “He hollered and that’s when they all ran.”
As the possible gang members fled in a dark 1990’s model Ford, the fortunate driver grabbed the gun he had managed to wrestle away and fired shots at his assailants. Even police were amazed by what appeared to be some kind of divine intervention. “There was obviously some kind of intervention involved in this incident, because he probably should not be here,” said Sgt. Michael Pauley of the Dayton Police Department.
Though he had to be transported to the hospital for the bullet to his leg and the lacerations on his arm, it seems that the RTA employee will live to keep his job. Authorities are in the middle of their investigation to find the suspected gang members. Rickey Wagoner gets a second chance at life, after his was saved by the Bible.