Colorado Springs 9th grader takes wheel on bus, drives to safety
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — With a bus driver falling in the stairwell and the bus in danger of going off the road with dozens of children inside, one young teen took the wheel and brought the bus full of kids to safety.
FOX31 Denver’s Deborah Takahara was the only Denver reporter to talk with 14-year-old Jeremy Rice about his heroic act.
He’s a freshman at a high school that allows him to earn college credit, but he’s still not old enough to drive a car, let alone a bus!
“I really wasn’t thinking at all. I just acted. I was scared, I didn’t know what to do,” Rice says. “Everyone was just standing up looking at cars come at us, so I ran up there and pulled the bus over.”
The driver was at a stop light when he reached down to pick up some trash, fell down the stairs next to the door and got stuck. That’s when Jeremy noticed something was wrong and sprang into action.
“I ran up, saw he was hurt. Grabbed the steering wheel. He said pull the yellow thing… so I was looking… and watching the road,” the teen says.
Jeremy knew he had just seconds, as the bus was heading into oncoming traffic.
“It was a blue semi truck coming straight at us. You could hear him trying to get his brakes. That’s when I ran up there and pulled it over.”
Jeremy pulled the emergency brake and steered the bus into a grassy median near Platte Avenue and Murray Boulevard, which is just west of Peterson Air Force Base.
“When I finally got the bus done though, everyone’s like ‘you’re crazy, you’ve got the guts… calling me a hero, pretty cool!” he says.
Jeremy says up until Thursday, he had only driven an ATV and a golf cart, but he’s pretty confident in his driving skills now.
This isn’t the first story from the past few weeks of a youngster reacting calmly in the face of adversity. Read on to hear about a Pueblo 9-year-old who rode to get help for herself despite the fact that she was impaled on her bike.