JEFFERSON COUNTY, MO (KTVI) - In the wake of recent violence and tragic death that may have shaken your faith in humanity, came small acts of heroism at the scene of school bus crash in near Hillsboro, MO, Monday.
A school bus went into a ditch and flipped on its side with severely disabled students on board.
It happened shortly after 3:00 PM on Highway Z near Woodland Road.
There were four students from the nearby Mapaville State School on the bus, students who can't walk and for the most part can't speak.
Nearby residents and drivers came to their aid: lifting them out of the bus and into the arms of firefighters and EMS workers.
The driver hit a slick spot on the narrow, curved, and hilly two lane highway; went off one side of the road, over-corrected, crossed the center line, and ran into the ditch on the other side, authorities said.
David Ellis and his neighbor across the street were among more than a dozen residents and drivers who rushed to lift the children out of the bus and into ambulances. It wasn’t easy. The children were seat belted. The bus was on its side. Ellis and the others had to walk on the window frames to avoid breaking glass and stepping through the windows as they lifted the students.
“There was another guy with a knife who was cutting seatbelts while like three of us were holding them up, helping them out of their seats. They were seat belted almost upside down,” Ellis said. “Pretty scary, a school bus laying in the ditch.”
“One kid they put on a blanket,” said Alan Trodus, watching from across the street. “They carried him out of the bus on a blanket. I don’t know if he was injured but he looked like he was very confused, didn’t know what was happening, scared.”
“These children can’t tell you how they feel, what’s hurting,” said Fire Chief Darryl Reed of the Mapaville Fire Protection District. “That makes it even harder. That was one reason we decided to send everyone to the hospital to make sure there were no major problems, seat belts did their job. If it had been a regular school bus with no seat belts it probably would have been a real problem."
The students range in ages from 12 to 18.
There were six people total on the bus: the four students, the driver, and a school monitor.
Rescuers credited that monitor for keeping the students calm and helping rescuers do what they had to do as delicately as possible.
No one was seriously hurt.