Two sisters in from Wesson, Mississippi, are being called heroes for their quick thinking when they saw a school bus with a problem — and they took action that saved 26 lives — including 22 school kids.
“We were at a stop sign in Georgetown, Mississippi, on Highway 27 and this bus was on Highway 28 with smoke coming from underneath it,” said Bettye Windom, 24, who along with her sister Beth Insley, 29, were on their way back from buying a new car.
They expected the bus to stop, but it quickly became clear that the driver and passengers were unaware of what appeared to be a serious problem with the school bus.
“Beth started flagging them down. It took us probably a mile to get them to pull over,” Bettye Windom said. “We were running on the side of the bus and we had the flashers on. We were honking and screaming. My sister was out of the vehicle, out the window, screaming at him. We finally got in front of them and slammed on brakes to get them to get out of the bus.”
Bettye screamed “get off the bus!” The passengers on the bus finally realized that something was very wrong, thanks to the sisters’ quick thinking an determination.
What happened next was frightening. The three adult chaperones got the 22 school kids — who were on their way back from taking an statewide exam in Ellisville — off the bus in orderly fashion, as the driver attempted vainly to douse the groiwng flames with a fire extinguisher. One girl bruised her arm on the way out, bit otherwise, the kids were okay.
It could have been much worse. Even as some of the kids tried to persuade teachers to let them return to the bus to gather their personal belongings — the bus exploded.
“All of a sudden it just went boom!” said 34-year-old teacher Chelshe Archie. “I was extremely worried about my kids.”
Without the decisive action taken by the two sisters, the kids would have still been on the bus, in their seats, when it blew up.
“They are real heroes,” says Margaret Goods, grandmother of 18-year-old Keonna Goods was on board, a” passenger on the bus. because in my mind just the thought of thinking your child could have burned on the bus is more than you could really bear.”
But the two sisters insist they didn’t do anything special.
“Our parents raised us the right way,” says Insley, a nurse. “We saw someone who needed help and we helped them. We’re happy everyone’s okay.”