A Sherman, New York, bus driver is being hailed as a hero in his home town. His quick thinking and calm control of the situation helped save the lives of several children.
The brakes were acting up at around 7:15 a.m., so the driver pulled to the side of the snowy road and hatched a plan.
The driver was able to follow protocol to protect the 12 children on board his bus. Once the children were off the bus, another bus that was already in the area was able to pick them up.
Thankfully, the driver had received training for his position, which allowed him to remain calm and work immediately to protect his 12 young charges.
The children were in the cold only for two or three minutes. If they had stayed on the bus, there would have been multiple fatalities or injuries.
“He noticed the brakes were running hot,” said Mike Ginestre, Sherman school superintendent.
“He’s an experienced driver and did a very great job getting (the students off) and getting them safely to another bus.”
While some might question the children standing in the cold, the alternative would have been death or injury. Shortly after the children were loaded onto the bus dispatched to assist the situation, the disabled bus was engulfed in fire.
“Our driver witnessed the problem from the back of the bus, and he immediately moved kids from the back of the bus to the front of the bus. Then, he decided quickly to evacuate the bus.” Ginestre said.
Firefighters with the Stanley Hose Company were dispatched to the scene of the fire. Sadly, the bus could not be recovered.
As per school policy and basic human decency, the parents of the children were contacted. A communication was then sent out to families across the school district.
Ginestre credits the bus driver and lead bus driver David Maleski for their wisdom and responsiveness in such a heated situation.
“These kinds of things are always a possibility,” Ginestre said. “I just want to commend the bus driver and Maleski for getting out there real quick.”
“The driver was great,” continued Ginestre. “He acted very quickly, noticed there could be an unsafe situation, got the kids off of the bus and radioed another bus.”
In addition to the driver and head of the bus garage, he thanked the first responders as well. I am sure every parent of those 12 kids are thankful as well!
As a parent of a 5-year-old just starting school, I am appreciative for quick-thinking bus drivers. I hope all drivers are just as alert and conscientious.
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