Published April 09, 2012
MILTON, Wash. – A middle school student is being credited with saving a school bus full of kids after he drove the bus to safety after the driver passed out behind the wheel from an apparent heart attack.
13-year-old Jeremy Wuitschick told Q13 Fox he was riding the bus to school Monday morning when he noticed something was wrong with the driver.
"He starts acting all funny," he said. "His eyes are bulging and he is twitching in his chair."
Surveillance video shows Wuitschick's split-second reaction.
"I was just thinking I don't want to die," Wuitschick said. "I turned to the right. Turned to the side of the road. Took the keys out of the ignition. We started slowing down, and I said, `Somebody call 911!"'
Wuitschick and another student, Johnny Wood, did chest compressions on the driver. A school administrator also drove by minutes later, and stopped when he saw the bus on the side of the road. He also attempted CPR on the driver.
Police in the town of Milton, about 30 miles south of Seattle, quickly showed up and the 12 students were escorted off the bus.
Though the driver had to be carried off the bus by paramedics, authorities say he was breathing when he was taken to the hospital.
"Everyone was asking questions,” Jeremy said. “'Whoa there's a bus over there what did you do Jeremy?' I was just like 'Well I just drove the bus to the side.' Everyone is excited about that!”
Deputy Schools Superintendent Jeff Short told The News Tribune the 43-year-old driver was in "grave condition" at a hospital. He says students go over emergency procedures several times annually, learning what to do if a bus driver is incapacitated.
Though Jeremy is being credited with saving the students and the driver from serious injury, he says he wishes he could have done more to help. He told Q13 Fox the incident has inspired him to learn CPR.
"When something major happens, I look back to see if there's something I could've done better," he said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.