April 10th, 2012
02:54 PM ET

Student stops bus after driver slumps in seat

A Washington school district is hailing a middle-school student as a hero after he guided a school bus to a stop when the driver slumped in his seat.

The bus was taking a number of students to Surprise Lake Middle School in Milton, Washington, when the driver became incapacitated Monday morning, falling back into his seat and letting go of the wheel, surveillance video released by the school district shows.

The bus kept going, guided by no one for seconds, the video shows. Then seventh-grader Jeremy Wuitschick, two seats to the back and right of the driver, jumped into action.

“I was just sitting there when the bus driver, he looked funny. His eyes were bulging and he was sitting back, and his hands were kind of flapping around uselessly,” Jeremy told CNN affiliate KOMO.  “… I knew something was wrong.”

Jeremy ran to the front and turned the wheel to the right, guiding the bus to the side of the road. Believing he couldn’t reach the brake, he brought the bus to an eventual halt by taking the keys out of the ignition, he told KOMO. Other students used cell phones to call 911.

The bus had just pulled away from a stop and was going about 10 mph when the driver lost control, Fife School District Deputy Superintendent Jeff Short said. The bus hit a curb before Jeremy guided it to a stop outside an elementary school that is adjacent to Surprise Lake Middle School, CNN affiliate KIRO reported.

Jeremy and fellow student Johnny Wood gave the driver chest compressions after the bus stopped, according to the video and Short.

John McCrossin, the school district’s director of student programs, was driving behind the bus and saw it veer, and he ran aboard and administered CPR until medics arrived, KOMO reported.

The driver, a substitute, was taken to a hospital "for some type of heart condition," Short told CNN on Tuesday. The district is withholding the driver's name at the request of his wife, who wants time to contact his relatives, Short said.

Short said he didn't have information to release about the driver's condition, except to say that he still was in the hospital Tuesday.

The children aboard the bus "did a fantastic job of reacting to a difficult situation," Short said.

"Turning the wheel to the curb and turning the bus off was perfect for that situation and for the safety of the kids," Short said. “We're proud of the kids and the way they acted in the situation."

Jeremy said he was acting on instinct, but also was inspired by a book in which a character was told to bring a bus under control by turning off the ignition, he told KOMO.

Catherine Wuitschick, Jeremy’s mother, told KOMO that she is “incredibly proud of Jeremy.”

“I always have been, but especially so today,” she said.

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Filed under: Education • Washington state
soundoff (101 Responses)
  1. Jody

    What a wonderful boy. His parents mst be so proud.

    April 10, 2012 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
  2. S.R.

    Jeremy and Johnny you two guy's are incredible!!! You guy's both showed courage and great thinking in a dangerous situation. Wow!!!

    April 10, 2012 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  3. RUFFNUTT (( dank smoking , beer drinking trailer trash from belton missouri ))

    that's the problem with bus drivers today... always napping on the job...

    April 10, 2012 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
  4. cleuq

    Good for the kids. My question is, why the heck was this guy driving a bus with a heart condition – one which he clearly aggravated? These things don't just happen randomly if the condition is kept under control. Was he being stupid, or careless, or something?

    April 10, 2012 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Julie

      Where does it say he had a heart condition? He was flailing his arms, eyes rolling back in his head – sounds more like a seizure than a heart problem. It is entirely possible that he had a seizure disorder and never knew. He could also have any medical condition without knowing. Those boys did a beautiful job and their parents and community should be very proud.

      April 10, 2012 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • rickp530@sbcglobal.net

      I have a heart condition. Please tell me the secret to controlling a heart attack. I know of prevention steps that can be taken but again never heard of controlling a heart attack. My father also dropped dead from a heart attack. If he could have controlled it, I think he might still be alive today.

      April 10, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Andy

      Why was Dick Cheney leading America for 8 years with a heart condition?

      April 10, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • JR

      "... why the heck was this guy driving a bus with a heart condition..."

      Here we go. Another one of those quick to judge "people should know better" crap statement.

      April 10, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lanfear

      Or maybe it was just a freak accident? Don't dig too deep into this.

      April 10, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • neoritter

      I knew it wouldn't be long before someone made a comment like this.

      Kind of shows a complete ignorance of reality.

      April 10, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Margaret

      Cleuq, it sounds like you are the stupid, clueless one. Many people have medical conditions that they are not aware of and some, unfortunately, find out at the worst time. Thankfully, these boys had presence of mind to take swift action to avoid a tragedy! My thoughts and prayers go to the bus driver and his family.

      April 10, 2012 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • umm

      Not everyone knows they have a heart condition.

      April 10, 2012 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • animtr83

      Pretty sure my dad wouldn't have gone on a camping trip 4 hours from home if he knew he was going to have a heart attack that weekend. You don't just suspend your life if you have heart disease...

      April 10, 2012 at 6:42 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Padmanabham

    It brings tears of joy to hear kids reacting calmly do a deadly situation.

    April 10, 2012 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Eric Wong

    The guy should at least get a freaking medal

    April 10, 2012 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Elisabeth L

    These are amazing kids. I hope my daughter grows-up this brave and intelligent!

    April 10, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Holly

    Amazing!! And you can tell these kids have been raised by some good parents–who says "OH MY GOSH!" in such a situation? I'd be droppin' a few bombs even when I was in Middle School.

    April 10, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • CounrtryCalifornia

      Holly, The first kid did drop an F bomb. But it was very warrant an appropriate lol

      April 10, 2012 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Matt

    perhaps the Priceline advertisement of a bus going over a cliff and exploding was not the most tasteful choice for this story.

    April 10, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • bryce

      Haha, touche' Matt. As for CNN and Priceline, shame on you!

      April 10, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • NoodleHat

      You see ads? Silly user...

      April 10, 2012 at 6:49 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Lanfear

    This is fantastic! Kids are so much smarter than we give them credit for sometimes.

    April 10, 2012 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Roger

    Don't blame the bus driver. I hardly think the driver wants a heart attack; heck, he may not even know he has heart condition until this had happened. The kids definitely deserve reward and recognition.

    April 10, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Guy

    The best part was when the boy said he was inspired from a book! Kids these days still read!!!!!! AMAZING!!!!

    April 10, 2012 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
  13. nutz

    Just don't let being a hero go to your head like Peter Brady did.

    April 10, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Tobi

    That bus doesn't look like it's going 10 MPH to me... just sayin'.

    April 10, 2012 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Futon Torpedo

    “I was just sitting there when the bus driver, he looked funny. His eyes were bulging and he was sitting back, and his hands were kind of flapping around uselessly,”

    Sounds like upper management.

    April 10, 2012 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
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