Elementary school bus driver collapses behind wheel with students on board

Credit: Daniel Shirey

Credit: Daniel Shirey

It was a scary moment for parents and students after their bus driver collapsed behind the wheel in Atkinson, New Hampshire.

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For Jesse Silva, the after-school drop-off for his third-grade son is pleasantly routine, but Tuesday, there was a slight deviation.

"The bus stopped maybe 10 feet early," Silva said.

With five boys on the bus, Silva figured the driver was pausing until they all sat down.

"Then it looked like she bent over to pick something up," he said.

In fact, what Silva didn't know, but the kids on the bus did, is that the driver had collapsed.

"At that point, one of the kids knocked on the window and said ‘Help.’"

Silva helped by opening the emergency exit door in the rear of the bus as a neighbor called the police.

"We started getting calls for a medical emergency on a school bus right down the street," Atkinson police Chief Timothy Crowley said. "We found the bus driver had collapsed on the floor of the bus."

Crowley credits two of the students, one in third grade, one in fourth, for stepping up to help in the emergency, both by calming down the others and possibly preventing the bus from rolling.

"I think they deserve a lot of credit for getting involved because a lot of people wouldn't do that," Crowley said.

First Student, the bus driver's employer, says she remains in the hospital and called her a dedicated team member for more than 20 years. The company thanked everyone who came to her assistance.

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