In a very scary moment when the driver of a school bus transporting elementary students home from Atkinson Academy collapsed and fell from her seat, eight-year-old Nolan Barry and nine-year-old Thomas MacKeen quickly reacted to the situation to stop the bus that was still in motion.
According to Yahoo Lifestyle, Atkinson Police Chief Timothy Crowley confirmed the bus driver did collapse from a medical emergency. Crowley also confirmed Nolan and Thomas noticed the bus driver fall from her seat and raced to the front of the bus to help.
Typically sitting in the front seat, Nolan has watched the driver operate the bus on more than one occasion. Thus, making himself somewhat familiar with the various controls.
“I forgot which yellow one to press,” Nolan told the WCVB. He, however, was able to figure out the controls and stop the bus.
“Yeah, I was like, thank God,” the eight-year-old replied when the interviewer asked if he felt relieved.
According to the statement released by the police department, the eight-year-old was able to activate the emergency brake system which stopped the bus. This system also turns the red flashing lights on, puts the safety bar out, and releases the stop sign.
While the young boys had managed to stop the bus, the driver was still unresponsive and they didn’t know how to open the doors.
“MacKeen was the oldest student on the bus [in fourth grade] and he was able to calm the other students down and get them back into their seats,” Crowley explained to Yahoo Lifestyle.
Fortunately, the next stop where eight-year-old David Silva’s father, Jesse, was waiting for the bus wasn’t that far away. In fact, Jesse could see the bus. According to Boston 25 News, Jesse recalled the bus stopping about ten feet before it reached the next stop. Knowing the bus was full of young boys, he assumed the bus driver just stopped to settle the students.
From his point of view, it also looked like the driver had leaned down to pick something up when she had fallen out of her seat. It was when the students starting banging on the windows and calling for help that Jesse Silva raced to the school bus to see what was wrong.
Silva was able to help the students by opening the emergency door at the rear of the bus. He recalled the students being “very shaken up” at the time.
The police chief praises the two young boys from reacting so calmly to the terrifying situation. He believed the boys deserved a lot of credit for what they did as he knows a lot of people – especially children – wouldn’t have reacted in the same manner.
While the driver has been treated and released, it is unclear what caused her to collapse.