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. S-coop

    Oh and good job Jeremy. Save some more peoples lives for me please!

    April 11, 2012 at 9:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • McBride-Hubbard

      MAN i wanna give them kids a high five!!!!

      April 13, 2012 at 7:08 pm | Report abuse |
  2. me

    i think jeremy did a good job retracing what he probly learned in school, but I take the same advice toocy said: LEARNING doesn't stop when a child leaves school.If you go to the store your kids or children should know how much change they get back so the people dont cheat you. Im not sayin if you have a 5or7 year old they should know , but in higher grade level .GOOD JOB JEREMY AND JOHNNY AND OTHER CHILDREN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 11, 2012 at 9:27 pm | Report abuse |
  3. kathleen

    The kids are HEROS! Quick action saved their lives and the bus driver's. Great job!

    April 11, 2012 at 10:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Swapnil Chandorkar

      Those KIDS are real life heros! I salute them all. Lot of learnings from them

      April 12, 2012 at 3:57 am | Report abuse |
  4. Veronica

    Some kids can be so amazing! I am so proud of these young men...

    April 12, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Daisy

    i hope my three children are smart and quick thinking like them.

    April 12, 2012 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
  6. david

    I was just wondering if you investigated websites that make certain unsubstantiated claims or if you just wanted to hide them like everyone else!

    April 12, 2012 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Spudlabs

      And we were all just wondering if you were born that stupid or did you earn a degree in it?

      April 13, 2012 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
  7. goinggoinggone

    Good job kids!!!!!!

    April 14, 2012 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
  8. dojo

    I think those kids are amazing. Great job.

    But does anything find it weird that the one kid found a man possibly dying in front of him "breath-taking" and "exhilarating." Don't be surprised he if turns out in a weird place in life.

    April 15, 2012 at 1:07 am | Report abuse |
  9. renrick

    Now that we know what these youths are made of, we should harness their potential and channel it n the right direction. I see future engineers, policemen, military commanders, firefighters and doctors among others, who all have to respond to emergencies and to lead people in difficult situations. Kudos to the schoolers!

    April 16, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
  10. DefyTheGods

    Gotta love kids! Always full of surprises! Way to go!

    April 16, 2012 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
  11. WhatToSay?

    Kudos to Jeremy and Johnny!

    This serves as a reminder that even though they may be "young and inexperienced," there are kids out there who are aware enough of the world around them to take action when serious situations arise (such as the one described in this article). I know that many parents tend to think about their children in a manner which focuses on their vulnerabilities. I cannot blame them for doing so, as all of us know the world can be an extremely dangerous place. I hope that this serves as a reminder to parents that an essential part of the process of raising children is preparing them to be capable of handling unpredictable events that can develop within a matter of seconds. In order to accomplish this, it is essential that parents recognize the independence and responsibilities of action that even the most unlikely individuals, our children, can display during events that would be stressful to any of us.

    April 16, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Phyl

    Good job Jeremy ....quick thinking!!! God Bless you...

    April 16, 2012 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
  13. sanah

    Good job! God Bless you all,

    April 16, 2012 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
  14. livebeeremoval

    Reblogged this on Live Bee Removal and commented:
    We Save Bees,
    live bee removal

    April 16, 2012 at 7:44 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Karla :)


    But, as to Johnny's comment, I think "breath-taking" and "exhilarating" were this week's vocabulary words and he just wanted to show off :)...no biggy! sounded funny though...either way, these kids are amazing!

    April 17, 2012 at 9:00 am | Report abuse |
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