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. rtbrno65

    What a cool kid, I hope he was taken to the restaurant of his choice that night.

    April 10, 2012 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
  2. banasy©

    These kids think quickly on their feet and will go far in life.
    Well done!

    April 10, 2012 at 5:11 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Tanner

    Both of those kids were impressively well-spoken.

    April 10, 2012 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Side Story

    What the story did not say was, the kid was ticketed by police for driving without a license, driving a school bus without a operators license, getting up from his seat when the bus was moving, and driving without a seat belt.

    April 10, 2012 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nicole

      Um Side Story, where did you get your info about the boy being ticketed? This is from the newspaper in WA, nothing about what you claim. http://www.yakima-herald.com/stories/2012/04/10/washington-kids-stop-school-bus-after-driver-stricken
      Seems to me that if that really did happen. It would be mentioned in the local paper!

      April 10, 2012 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joystick

      if that's your attempt at Humor, sorry, your lunch break is over, time to clock back in Wal-Mart.

      April 10, 2012 at 6:22 pm | Report abuse |
  5. JeanneLH

    I work with Middle School kids and I'll tell you...there is nothing like KID POWER. Give me a few kids over adults anyday!!

    April 10, 2012 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
  6. John

    nicole, i believe it was a joke

    April 10, 2012 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Fred

    Nicole, you must be blonde. Side Story was begin sarcastic.

    April 10, 2012 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Seth Hill

    Good for the kid taking action! (However, popular culture misleads us to think you should give chest compressions whenever someone seems ill; this notion is totally wrong and can really hurt someone! Study CPR and learn the steps you take before starting chest compressions and rescue breathing.)

    April 10, 2012 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • BRod

      We are talking about a kid here – he was panicked and trying to help.

      April 10, 2012 at 6:17 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "Right vs. Wrong"

    Catherine Wuitschick, Jeremy’s mother, told KOMO that she is “incredibly proud of Jeremy.
    This kid should run for president...that has got one of the most incredible stories of heroism I've seen in a while.
    Hope the driver gets better....

    April 10, 2012 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Seth Hill

    Follow-up to my previous comment. Years ago I witnessed a terrible accident where about 8 of saw red hair sticking out from under a van on its side, and we lifted the van off an unconscious woman. Her husband jumped on her and started doing chest compressions. Was she alive? Was she dead? Was he breaking all her ribs? Was he saving her or killing her?

    April 10, 2012 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Yossarian

    What amazing instincts both kids displayed. Jeremy appeared to handle the situation with remarkable poise. And props to Johnny Wood for using "exhilirating" in a sentence correctly.

    April 10, 2012 at 5:54 pm | Report abuse |
  12. julio hernandez

    hey that's great, but he did it wrong but at least no one got hurt

    April 10, 2012 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Lucas

    At least the kids were alert to the condition of the driver....Most kids that age would be carrying around on the bus and not caring what the bus driver was doing. Good Job!

    April 10, 2012 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Jt_flyer

    I hope some parents really so this little man their appreciation.

    April 10, 2012 at 6:03 pm | Report abuse |
  15. BRod

    Awesome! What a great kid! Quick on his feet, and he just took charge. Way to go!

    April 10, 2012 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |
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