A South Carolina school bus driver is being heralded as a hero for his response to an armed hijacking that occurred on his bus on May 6. Even so, he said the real heroes are the 18 children he was trying to protect.
On Monday, Kenneth Corbin spoke to ABC’s “Good Morning America” about the incident. He said a young man entered the bus with a rifle and demanded Corbin keep driving.
After the suspect got on the bus that morning and told Corbin to keep driving, he said the man moved all of the children to the front to keep an eye on them. That’s when the younger children began questioning the suspect.
“They asked him, ‘Why, why are you doing this?'” Corbin said. “He never did have an answer for that one. They asked, was, was he going to hurt them? He said ‘No.’ They asked, ‘[Are you] going to hurt our bus driver?’ and he said, ‘No. All I’m going to do is take you, put you off the bus.'”
As young children often do, Corbin said the students continued to innocently question the man. Eventually, the suspect apparently decided he could no longer stand the interrogation.
“At the end, when they started questioning him, it seemed to have frustrated him, because his main objective were to get to the next town. But in the end I think we only rode about four miles and he just got frustrated with the questions and just told me to stop the bus and just get off, all y’all get off,” Corbin said.
Corbin told the suspect the closest town was in Kershaw County, which was about 20 miles away.
When the suspect’s patience wore thin, all 18 children and Corbin were able to exit the bus safely before the man drove away in the bus.
According to The Associated Press, police located and arrested the suspect after he ditched the bus and rifle and took off running.
Police identified the suspect as Jovan Collazo, a 23-year-old Army trainee who spent three weeks at Fort Jackson and appeared to be trying to get home to New Jersey. Fort Jackson Commanding Brig. Gen. Milford H. Beagle Jr. told The AP Collazo did not have ammunition in his weapon.
Callazo is now being held in custody and faces 24 charges, including 19 counts of kidnapping, ABC News reported.
Corbin’s willingness to sacrifice everything for the safety of children on his bus is extremely admirable. This kind of selflessness can be rare in today’s world, but Corbin never seemed to hesitate.
“It was just a matter of staying calm and following his instructions and thinking about the kids, because I didn’t want to do anything that would, you know, rile him to cause him to do something that, that would bring harm to my kids,” Corbin said.
At the same time, Corbin contended he is not the real hero. He said the children also had his back.
“That morning that was so evident that they were precious cargo and I pretty much just had to just do whatever, you know, to get them off of the bus safe and sound,” he said.
“It seemed as if it was their goal to do the same thing by me, and that’s why I refer to them as my heroes.”
According to WBTV-TV, officials in South Carolina on Friday honored Corbin with an award for putting the safety of the children first and remaining calm in such a high-pressure situation.
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