NORWICH, N.Y. (WBNG) — A Norwich City School District bus driver is being hailed a hero after preventing a student from exiting as a car sped by.
The district says the bus was stopped on Route 12 on Friday, April 26 with the stop arm out red lights flashing, when the car whizzed by the doors, just as 13-year-old Matthew Squires was about to get off the bus.
Driver Samantha Call took action quickly by grabbing him from behind, preventing a potentially tragic situation.
“The last thing I remember was getting yanked back and the car flying by,” said Squires.
“I look down at my bottom mirror which I check before I let any kid out. Here comes a silver car on the side. Matt is probably the third step down now and all I could think of was ‘Matt is going to get hurt’, so I just pull him,” said Call.
Squires’ mother, Christina Beardsley, says when she first saw the footage, she couldn’t believe her eyes.
“I cried. I honestly cried. If she hadn’t had been so vigilant and looking behind her bus because no one really thinks of someone coming on the door side of the bus,” said Beardsley. “I still try to wrap my head around what that person thought was so much more important that he almost hit my son.”
“When I first saw it. All I could think of was, ‘what if I didn’t get him?.’ I wouldn’t be sending him home to his mom anymore,” said Call.
Call says the district felt it was important to share the video and spread awareness of school bus safety.
“It’s got to get out there. It’s got to stop. People have to pay attention this. Kids die everyday from problems like this,” said Call.
“Its a big yellow school bus. It’s light are on. It’s doors are opening. The stop sign is out. You are supposed to stop for the bus. It just shocks me,” said Beardsley.
Squire’s mom says she is grateful for Call’s actions that saved her son.
“I’m just really grateful that she has quick reflexes and she was able to grab him in time,” said Beardsley.
“I’m so glad I could have sent him home to his mom cause I don’t know if I could have gotten back on that bus had I not been able to. I don’t think I could ever touch a school bus again,” said Call.
“Samantha did an outstanding job,” NCSD Transportation Supervisor William Loomis said in a statement. “All of our drivers undergo continuous training so they’re prepared to handle situations like this. We hope this video helps everyone to realize the dangers of passing a stopped school bus.”
The Chenango County Sherrif’s Office is investigating the incident.
Bus drivers remind the public to be patient and never pass a bus when it stops during a route.
PHOTO/VIDEO COURTESY: Norwich City School District