October 5, 1995 in Nation/World

Alert 10-Year Old Averts Bus Crash

Associated Press
 

A quick-thinking 10-year-old boy grabbed the wheel of a runaway school bus and stopped the vehicle after the driver collapsed from a stroke.

Classmates cheered Larry Champagne III at Bellerive School, where he attends fifth grade, chanting “Larry saved our lives” to principal Ken Russell.

The bus was carrying about 20 students down a highway en route to the suburban school Tuesday when Larry saw the driver slump and fall into the stairwell, authorities said.

He ran to the front of the bus, grabbed the wheel and hit the brake. The bus hit two guardrails and collided with a pickup truck before Larry got it under control. Police didn’t know if the truck’s driver was injured.

Five children suffered minor injuries. The driver, Ernestine Blackman, apparently suffered a stroke and was hospitalized in serious condition.

Students told Russell the bus driver had in the past told them what to do in an emergency. And Larry said his grandfather had given him some driving tips.

© Copyright 1995 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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