On Tuesday morning in Ohio, an act of heroism played out and one very brave woman risked and lost her life to save another. As a school bus's brakes gave way during a safety training exercise, a child stood directly in its path. The bus driver jumped in front of the child and pushed her out of the way, saving the child's life, and risking her own–paying the ultimate price. According to a local policeman on the scene, "She sacrificed her own life to save…this girl." The bus driver, a 51-year-old woman from Akron, is being remembered for her heroics.
Police told reporters that the driver pulled up alongside Middlebury Academy in Akron and the then instructed the children to complete their route emergency evacuation drill. All of the students, nearly forty of them whose ages range from 6-14, got off the bus and lined up on the sidewalk to begin the drill. They then re-boarded the bus and exited out the back emergency door as instructed.
A ten-year-old girl, who police say was the last to get off, began climbing down from the back emergency door when the bus started to roll backwards. Keeping a watchful eye, the bus driver quickly jumped in front of the girl and threw her to the side, but did not herself have enough time to escape. The bus eventually stopped when it rolled into a tree as everyone stood helplessly in shock.
The hero worked for a privately contracted transportation company called Petermann, whose offices are in Cincinnati. Petermann is a subsidiary of transportation conglomerate National Express Corporation. She was pronounced dead two hours after the accident occurred at a nearby hospital, shortly before 10 a.m.
The school has hired grief counselors to speak to the children who witnessed the accident and to anyone who knew and will miss this heroic woman. In an interview, the school's director said that the administration's focus will be to make "…sure kids feel safe…and…get whatever resources [they] can…"
The investigation as to why the bus began to roll is underway and there has been no comment about whether it was a technical or human error. The Ohio State Highway Patrol and other entities are examining the bus and others like it in an effort to determine why the accident occurred.
Source: WKBN, "School bus driver killed during safety drill" 16 September 2014