Students aboard a southeast Texas school bus stepped in and steered the bus to safety after their driver suffered a heart attack while behind the wheel.
KTRK-TV reported that bus driver Gerald Gardner was just leaving Sealy ISD school grounds on Thursday and about to pull onto a busy highway when he passed out, forcing the students to step in.
A few students quickly steered the bus off of Highway 90, before the vehicle could cross the median into opposing traffic.
After the bus came to a halt, a high school senior helped the kids evacuate the bus from the back.
Officials told KHOU that three strangers stopped to perform CPR on Gardner after removing him from the bus.
Sealy Fire Department was on the scene within minutes of CPR being administered, and an ambulance arrived three minutes after that, KTRK reported.
Sadly, despite the efforts of first responders, 73-year-old Gardner was pronounced dead at the scene, according to KTRK.
Sealy ISD’s Facebook page published this statement on Friday, following the accident:
“Sealy ISD is grieving the loss of one of our bus drivers, Gerald Gardner. Mr. Gardner had just picked up his Sealy Junior High riders and was exiting the school drive onto Hwy 90 when he suddenly became unconscious. The quick actions taken by three of our students, one from SJH and two from Sealy High School, allowed the bus to be safely parked and evacuated.
“Three Good Samaritans immediately arrived, carried Mr. Gardner off the bus, and very quickly began CPR. Within a minute of CPR being started, the Sealy Fire Department was on scene and three minutes after that, an ambulance was on scene. The heroic efforts of these First Responders were unfortunately not enough.
“We are extremely grateful to the years of service Mr. Gardner gave to Sealy ISD and to our students. Our hearts, thoughts, and prayers go out to the Gardner family at this time. We are also fortunate that no students were injured.
“Our students are to be commended for their quick thinking and remaining calm during the evacuation. In addition, Sealy ISD is very appreciative of the efforts made by the First Responders and citizens.”
Gardner spent 11 years driving a school bus for Sealy ISD, a school district just west of Houston TX. His daughter told reporters that Gardner had said he planned to not miss a single day of school this year “because he wanted to be there.”
Alice Gardner, wife of the bus driver, told KTRK-TV, that Gerald said that “he loved every kid on the school bus.” (For more from the author of “Students Steer Packed Bus to Safety After Driver Has Heart Attack” please click HERE)