Michigan 7th grader safely brings full school bus to a stop after driver loses consciousness
(CNN) — A seventh grader in Michigan is being praised as a hero for preventing his school bus from crashing after his bus driver lost consciousness, according to a school official.
Dillon Reeves, a student at Lois E. Carter Middle School in Warren, took immediate action on a bus ride after school Wednesday afternoon in “an extraordinary act of courage and maturity,” Warren Consolidated Schools Superintendent Robert D. Livernois said.
The bus driver experienced “some dizziness” while driving and followed protocol by alerting ‘”home base” that she wasn’t feeling well and was going to pull over to allow the transportation department to dispatch someone to provide relief to her, Livernois said at a Thursday news conference.
But the driver didn’t make it to where she planned to park, eventually passed out and couldn’t stop the bus, which started to veer into oncoming traffic, he said.
Reeves, who was seated about five rows back, “jumped up from his seat, threw his backpack down, ran to the front of the bus, grabbed the steering wheel and brought the bus to a stop in the middle of the road” even in the midst of panic, Livernois said.
In a video released by authorities at the news conference, Reeves is seen taking control of the steering wheel, slowly pushing the brakes, and then yelling to the other passengers: “Someone call 911. Now. Someone should call 911. I don’t care! Someone call 911!”
“He had the wherewithal to push it slowly, likely in anticipation that the bus was full of passengers. So despite the justifiable panic on the bus, you could imagine this is probably a 66-passenger bus and it was full at the time,” Livernois said, adding that there was no damage to the bus nor any of the surrounding property.
Warren police and fire departments responded to the scene within minutes and treated the bus driver, according to the superintendent. All students were loaded onto a different bus to make their way home, according to a letter from Livernois to the school district.
No injuries to the children on the bus were reported, Warren Fire Commissioner Skip McAdams told CNN.
The bus driver, a 40-year-old woman, is “stable but with precautions” and was transported to a hospital for examination, McAdams said.
The bus driver became alert and was able to communicate with first responders during her evaluation, treatment and transport. She had no physical injuries and suffered a medical emergency owing to a loss of consciousness, the fire commissioner said.
The driver, whose name will not be released by authorities out of respect for her privacy, remains in the hospital and is still undergoing testing and observation, Livernois said. She was described by Livernois a new driver, having been with the district since last July.
Reeves’ parents, Steve and Ireta Reeves, praised their son and called him “our little hero.”
“First off, we are very, very proud. I mean, this is overwhelming for all of us,” Steve Reeves said at the news conference.
“Dillon, he’s really been a great guy this year. He has come a long way. He has surprised us with great grades and with his performances at schools with friends, with peers. And to do something like this just fills my heart, makes my heart skip a beat,” Ireta Reeves said.
Warren is in southeastern Michigan, about 20 miles north of Detroit.