JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – For students at Olde Towne Middle and Ridgeland High School who ride bus 74 the usual drive home took a scary turn putting them in Jackson. The driver of the bus appeared to be medically distressed.
Students on the bus were scared. But they immediately worked together when their bus driver went into distress and they are credited with preventing anyone from getting hurt.
Over seven miles off course, students on Madison County bus 74 knew something was wrong.
“On County Line we said OK maybe he’s going to turn and we can go home,” 7th grader Katelin Trotter said. “Instead he just kept on going straight, driving like anybody else would drive a bus.”
“I told her to take pictures everywhere you are, take pictures all around you,” Katelin’s mother Rachel Jimenez told us. “We didn’t know what was going on. They were asking the bus driver and he had no response for them, so the kids freaked out so I told them to go to the nearest place.”
Around 4:30 P.M. the kids saw themselves approaching fire station seven of the Jackson Fire Department by the Northside Dr. and State St. intersection. Seeing their chance they got the driver to stop and they ran into the fire station for help.
“We were really trying to ask him where we going?,” Trotter explained. “Why are we going this way? This isn’t the way home. But he just didn’t answer anybody and didn’t even look back.”
Appears to have had a medical incident,” Madison County Public Schools Superintendent Charlotte Seals said. “And we’re fortunate we were able to get the bus stopped here at a fire station.”
Both Ridgeland and Jackson Police responded while AMR and Jackson fire fighters treated the bus driver. They believe he suffered a minor stroke at the wheel losing his ability to talk.
“Law enforcement secured the site and of course we had our administrators get to the site as well,” Superintendent Seals said. “And we contacted parents of students who were on the bus.”
All parties involved are praising the students, knowing an emergency like this could have ended much worse.
“I was worried my daughter was being abducted because that’s happening crazy here,” Jimemez expressed. “So that was my first reaction get off the bus wherever it is.”
Superintendent Charlotte Seals tells us there will be further investigation into this incident. Students we spoke to also said this driver had been out for a couple weeks and this was his first afternoon back.