Monday afternoon was just a typical ride home on the school bus for Alex Fisher, Emilio Stewart and Vernon Brown. As the bus approached Fisher’s stop, suddenly that all changed.
"I saw the bus driver shaking and then I asked her 'Are you OK?' and she didn't respond," Fisher, a student at Rodgers Middle School, said. "When she didn't respond I was like, 'There must be something wrong.'"
Six students were still on the bus when the driver had a medical emergency.
"I had to hit the brakes really fast," Fisher said. "The bus was still rolling a little bit and then some stranger jumped through the window and he put the bus in park and turned the engine off.”
That stranger was Michael Harell. He, along with Patricia Newton, saw what was happening from their business at Michigan and Chippewa and quickly ran to the aid of the students.
“The bus was facing me and coming into the direction of the store door,” Newton said. “All I could see is a child standing over the bus driver pressing on the breaks.”
She quickly called out to Harell to help her. Together they tried to enter the bus through the door, but couldn’t get it open and the kids didn’t know which button to push to release the door. That’s when Harell climbed through an open window and was able to finally get the bus completely stopped.
Two other students — Emilio Stewart and Vernon Brown — called 911 and then check on the driver’s condition.
“I didn’t know that she was having a seizure, I just thought there was something wrong with her, but when she started shaking, we called 911,” Stewart said.
Although Newton and Harell played a big part in the emergency response, they praised the kids for their quick action.
“They’re the real heroes,” said Harell.
“He was a hero. He followed the instructions of keeping his foot on the brakes until we got through the window. Our hats off to that kid, he’s the one who did it,” said Newton.
No students were injured during the incident. Another bus driver was called to the scene to take the rest of the students home.
There is no word on the condition of the driver, but she did call the principal to ask if all of the students were OK.