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UTA bus driver honored after saving woman from vicious dog attack

Posted at 5:35 PM, Mar 22, 2023

SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah Transit Authority bus driver was honored for his heroic efforts after saving a woman who was being gruesomely attacked by a pair of dogs.

Marissa Bowen was heading home from the grocery store on 5400 South when she saw two rottweilers almost get hit by a car 

"I just thought it would be awful to lose a pet by getting hit by a car, so I thought I'm going to see if they have tags so I can call their owner," recalled Bowen.

Before moving in to help the dogs, Bowen took precautions to see if they were friendly.

"They came up to me, they were licking my hands," she shared. "I scratched their head and I said 'Good doggies!'"

But the situation quickly turned life-threatening as they aggressively started to bite Bowen, before getting her to the ground and dragging her.

"In the moment that it was happening I was on the ground. One of them was biting my arm, one of them was biting my side, and I remember thinking if somebody doesn't stop I am probably going to die and that's when Nick stopped and saved my life."

"Nick" was Nick Sappas, a UTA bus driver who happened to see all that was happening and jumped in to help.

"I was just returning to the garage at the end of the night," Sappas recalled. "And I was cruising down the road and as I went around the corner I saw someone rolling around on the sidewalk and as I opened the door I could hear her."

Bowen held out her hand and Sappas swiftly got her to safety on his bus. However, the dogs didn't stop their attack.

"They were biting at the doors and the bumpers and the bike rack and the windshield wiper," he said.

Sappas was able to get paper towels to help put pressure on Bowen's woulds and stop the bleeding, then made calls to get her help. Bowen says she wants everyone to know Sappas' name because of his heroic efforts which will allow her to hold her son again.

"i just happened to be at the right place at the right time and could help," Sappas said.

"just seeing him and his bright cheerful smile and the noises he made, and he was like 'ma, ma, ma, ma,' and i was just so grateful that i was able to see him another day," said Bowen.

Salt Lake County Animal Services says they have made contact with the dog's owner and the incident is till under investigation. A GoFundMe page has also been set up to help with Bowen's medical expenses.