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VIDEO: Man threatens KAT bus driver with box cutter after she asked him to put on a mask

The driver told officers the man became irate and threatened her with a box cutter after she asked him to put on a face mask to board the bus.

Knoxville police arrested a man Sunday after they said he threatened a Knoxville Area Transit bus driver with a box cutter after she asked him to put on a face mask before boarding.

According to the arrest report, Michael O'Donnell, 59, tried to get on the bus on July 5 around 11:50 a.m. outside Walmart on Chapman Highway in South Knoxville.

The driver told officers O'Donnell became irate and began yelling after she asked him to put on a face mask. According to the report, O'Donnell then pulled out a box cutter from his pocket and began waving it in her face in a threatening manner. 

Credit: KPD
Michael O'Donnell

A passenger stepped in between the driver and O'Donnell to try and protect her. The two said O'Donnell continued to yell and threaten them with the cutter, and the passenger pulled out his own knife and kept it lowered to his side when O'Donnell refused to put the box cutter down.

Officers arrived and arrested O'Donnell, who claimed he only yelled because the bus driver yelled at him first. Police said the incident should have been captured on the bus' camera system, and KAT supervisors said they would give investigators a copy of the footage.

WBIR obtained the video from the KAT bus, which shows multiple angles and has no audio. You can see O'Donnell board the bus while it's parked at a Walmart store, wearing a bright yellow t-shirt, without a mask. He takes a seat behind the driver and you can see they are talking for a moment and he takes a mask out of his belongings and puts it on.

Over the next few minutes, as the bus remains parked, he takes the mask off and on and appears to be arguing with the driver. At one point, he approaches her without the mask and again it appears they have a confrontation.

Another man boards the bus and stands between the driver and O'Donnell. The two men continue to speak and back down the center aisle of the bus as the driver gets off and waits outside the door on the sidewalk. At one point, you can see what could be a box cutter in O'Donnell's hand as he's gesturing at the other passenger, but it's difficult to tell. 

O'Donnell is charged with felony aggravated assault and was booked into the Knox County Detention Center on a $15,000 bond. 

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