Caught on tape: 7th grader saves bus from crash

(CBS News) A surveillance video caught two quick-thinking seventh graders saving the day Monday when their bus driver reportedly had a heart attack while driving in the small town of Milton, Wash., south of Seattle.

As the video shows, it was a normal bus ride for the middle schoolers, when suddenly the driver slumps back in his seat and releases the wheel. Jeremy Wuitschick, 13, was a few rows back.

Wash. kids stop school bus after driver stricken

"The bus driver was acting all funny, he's shaking, his arms are flailing, his eyes are bulging and he's making this weird rasping noises with his mouth," Jeremy said.

The hospital won't confirm, but reportedly the driver had suffered a heart attack. The bus was careening out of control, headed straight for a church. Jeremy said he acted on instinct.

"So I take action," he said. "I grab the wheel, turn it right get it to the right side of the road. I take the keys out of the ignition, the engine starts turning off, and (we) start slowing down."

Seventh grader Johnny Wood took action, too. He had studied CPR.

"I ran up and tried doing chest compressions, but his eyes were rolling back and I could tell it was getting harder for him to breathe," Johnny said.

As the bus slowed and stopped, other students called 911.

Jeremy said, "I'm just thinking I just want to stop the bus, because I don't want to crash and I don't want to know what it feels like - I just don't want to die."

Jeremy said he remembered a superhero book he'd read in which a man stopped a runaway bus by turning off the ignition.

Everyone got off the bus alive.

"It was scary and exhilarating. I mean, you want to know if he's OK, but then again it's happening so fast your heart is pumping," Johnny said. "It's breathtaking and breath giving."

The Seattle Times reports the 43-year-old driver, whose name was not released, was taken to an area hospital, where his condition was described as grave.

Watch Bill Whitaker's report in the video above.

  • Bill Whitaker

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