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ST. LOUIS — Just hours after he was released from prison after serving about six years for murder, police say David M. Twine robbed and assaulted a 77-year-old cab driver, who also is a Baptist preacher with a religious radio show.

Earnest Greenlee, of Hazelwood, said he has been driving a cab for more than 20 years and that this was the first time he ever had a problem with one of his passengers.

He said he picked up Twine from the Greyhound bus station in downtown St. Louis on July 11, and that Twine told Greenlee he had just been released from prison and needed to cash a $1,200 check for a bond return, according to court documents.

After about two hours and several unsuccessful attempts to cash the check at different locations, Greenlee told Twine, 38, that he had another passenger to pick up at 10:30 p.m. and would have to drop him off.

He drove to a gas station near Clark and Jefferson avenues when Twine suddenly started hitting Greenlee in his head, neck and side, according to the documents.

“I’ve got a left hook, so I’m trying to get out of the seat belt and I hit him,” Greenlee said.

Greenlee said he unlocked his seat belt and tried to get out of the 2013 Dodge Caravan, but the belt didn’t release entirely. Twine got behind the wheel, accelerated and dragged Greenlee for a short distance, according to court documents.

“I was dragged for about a car length and the angels released that seat belt,” Greenlee said. “Had it not been for that, you wouldn’t be talking to me right now.”

Greenlee said a couple saw the struggle and helped him. An ambulance arrived. EMS workers took his blood pressure and one of them asked Greenlee why it wasn’t higher after the attack.

“I told them, ‘Because I know Jesus,’” Greenlee recalled.

He remembered that the man told him he had just been released from Menard Correctional Center in Illinois. Police got a photograph of Twine from the prison, put it in a photo spread and Greenlee identified him as his attacker, according to the documents.

Twine, who was charged with felony robbery in the case, was arrested Saturday in Illinois.

He had been convicted of the 2013 shooting death of a friend in Beverly, Illinois, in a Chicago neighborhood and sentenced to 12 years, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. The Sun-Times said Twine was from Matteson, Illinois, also a Chicago suburb.

He was given credit for the two years he had already served at the time of his 2015 sentencing, according to the newspaper. He was released July 11 on parole, according to prison records.

Greenlee said he plans to preach about his ordeal during the 10 a.m. Sunday service at First Missionary Baptist Church of Kinloch on Parker Road in Black Jack.

He said his ankle is swollen and his knees, neck and side are sore, and without his cab, he has no way to support himself financially. His family has set up an online donation site for him. And he’s renting a cab from United Cab company, for now.

But he is thankful.

He specializes in killing, he could have bought a knife at any one of those places we went and he could have been hitting me with some type of knife, I’m so happy to be alive,” Greenlee said. ”Those who want to come out and see a miracle man can come see me preach.”

He also plans to continue hosting his radio show, which airs at 12:30 p.m. Saturdays on KXEN. It’s called the Greenlee Prayer Hour.

Christine Byers is a reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.