LA GRANGE, Texas (KXAN) — Two La Grange ISD students jumped into action last Thursday when their school bus driver had a medical emergency while driving on a bridge over the Colorado River.
La Grange Middle School seventh-grader Karson Vega jumped into the driver’s seat when he saw the driver could no longer control the bus and steered the students to safety, as first reported by The Fayette County Record.
“He was going off in the ditch almost every turn, and then he started driving and swerving and stuff,” Vega said. “I noticed something was wrong.”
That’s when Vega said he knew he had to take control.
“I was like ‘no, I’m not dying’, so I jerked the wheel,” he said.
Superintendent William Wagner says La Grange High School sophomore Kyler Buzek kept students safe in the back of the bus and relayed where the bus was heading to a 911 dispatcher.
Vega says the bus was heading down State Highway 71, so he didn’t have a good place to pull over. He says he sat on the bus driver’s lap and drove for a couple of miles.
“He wouldn’t take his feet off [the pedal] so I kicked them over a little, so I could get the brake and stuff and turn the flashers on and everything,” Vega said.
Finally, he was able to come to a safe stop when police caught up with the bus. In all, seven were onboard — six students and the bus driver.
Vega says he loves automobiles and often asks his family to let him practice driving on back roads. “I’m used to driving,” he said, adding that he wasn’t scared to get behind the wheel of the school bus.
“My uncle let me drive his 18-wheeler, so it’s pretty much the same thing,” he laughed.
The superintendent says the driver is out of the hospital and recovering. He also says bus drivers are required to undergo yearly physicals, to ensure they’re in good condition to drive.
“You can’t foresee something like this,” Wagner said. “This is my 41st year in education, never experienced anything like this. I hope I don’t have to again, but I’m just very proud of our students, because in critical situations it takes people to step up, and they did.”