Students Take Life-Saving Action After Bus Driver Suffers Medical Emergency While Driving
A group of courageous schoolchildren averted a serious accident Monday morning by taking control of a school bus after the driver was incapacitated due to a medical emergency in Topsham, Maine.
Seventy-seven-year-old Arthur McDougall of Lisbon was driving the vehicle along U.S. Route 201 when he suffered from a medical event that rendered him incapable of controlling the vehicle, Topsham Police Chief Marc Hagan said, according to WCSH-TV in Portland.
The medical emergency struck McDougall around 7:30 a.m., the outlet reported.
At that time, the bus was passing through Topsham en route to Mount Ararat Middle School and Mount Ararat High School, according to the report.
Following the driver’s incapacitation, a student among the 14 onboard took control of the vehicle and pulled the handbrake, bringing it safely to a standstill, WCSH reported.
Another student phoned 911, while some of the others disembarked and tried to stop passing vehicles, Hagan said.
“It’s great that they stood up and went into action,” the chief said, according to WCSH. “I don’t know how many lives they may have saved.”
One student also attempted CPR on the driver, according to the outlet.
Police and firefighters responded to the scene. An officer with the local police department used a defibrillator on the bus driver.
Firefighters took McDougall by ambulance to Mid Coast Hospital. From there, he was taken to Maine Medical Center, WCSH reported.
In a statement shared with the outlet, district schools superintendent Bob Lucy said that McDougall had died.
The students who steered the vehicles and dialed 911 were identified as brothers Connor and Seamus Collins, one in high school and the other in middle school, according to WCSH.
“I didn’t see him fall. I heard him hit the ground, and then the bus started veering to the right into the ditch,” Connor told the outlet.
“I got up and pressed on the brake and told my little brother to call 911,” he said.
“I was trying to keep everyone calm, tell everyone it was going to be OK, the police are on their way.”
“I gave one of the other students a hug because he was crying and freaking out because he’s never been in a situation like this. Most of them haven’t. And when it’s in a bus accident, it’s very traumatizing,” Connor said.
“If not for them, we would’ve maybe responded a little later. So good for them for stepping up and being heroes,” Topsham police Officer Jose Gomez said, according to WCSH.
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