A Michigan State seventh grader has been hailed a hero for stopping his school bus from crashing after the bus driver was knocked unconscious, according to a school official.
Warren Unified Schools superintendent Robert D. Livernois said Dillon Reeves, a student at Louis E. Carter Middle School in Warren, took immediate action on an after-school bus Wednesday afternoon in an “extraordinary act of courage and maturity.”
Livernois said at a news conference Thursday that the bus driver felt “dizzy” while driving and followed protocol by alerting “home rule” that she was unwell and would stop to allow the transportation department to send someone to comfort her.
But the driver didn’t get to where I planned to park, ended up passing out and couldn’t stop the bus, which started veering into oncoming traffic, he stated.
Reeves, who was seated about five rows back, “jumped out of his seat, threw his backpack, ran to the front of the bus, grabbed the steering wheel and stopped the bus in the middle of the road,” even in the midst of the panic, Livernois says.
In video released by authorities at the press conference, Reeves is seen taking control of the steering wheel, slowly applying the brakes, then shouting to the other passengers, “Somebody call 911. NOW.” Someone should call 911. I don’t care! “CALL 911!”
He got tired of pushing it slowly, perhaps in anticipation because the bus was full of passengers. So, despite the justified panic on the bus, you can imagine it was probably a 66-passenger bus that was full at the time.
The superintendent said Warren police and firefighters responded to the scene within minutes and treated the bus driver. All of the students were put on a different bus to go home, according to a message from Livernois to the school district.
Warren Fire Marshall Skip McAdams told CNN that no children on the bus were hurt.
McAdams said the bus driver, a 40-year-old woman, was “stable but with precautions” and was taken to hospital for examination.
The bus driver became alert and was able to communicate with first responders as they were assessed, processed, and transported. The fire official said she had no physical injuries and had a medical emergency due to the loss of consciousness.
Levernois said the driver, whose name the authorities will not release out of respect for her privacy, remains in hospital and is being examined and monitored. Livernois described her as a new driver, having been in the area since last July.
Reeves’ parents, Steve and Erita Reeves, paid tribute to their son, calling him “our little hero.”
“First of all, we’re very proud. I mean, it’s overwhelming for all of us,” Steve Reeves said at the press conference.
“Dillon, he’s really been a great guy this year. He’s come such a long way. He surprised us with perfect grades and with his performances in schools with friends and peers. Doing something like that fills my heart, and makes me drop a beat,” said Erita Reeves.
Warren is located in southeastern Michigan, about 20 miles (32 kilometers) north of Detroit.