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Student Steers Bus To Safety After School Bus Driver Falls

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (CBS4) - A school bus full of students was close to crashing into oncoming traffic in Colorado Springs on Thursday but avoided an accident thanks to one brave teenager on board.

The driver was trying to fix a trash can that fell mid-route Thursday morning. He was stopped at a light at Chelton Road and Platte Avenue, and when it changed he got back into the seat, but was knocked out of the chair by taking a sharp turn and called to anyone in the bus who would help out since he got stuck.

"While we started turning he hit the curb and he fell out and he got stuck and he was asking everyone to help," Jeremy Rice, 14, told CBS4 television partner KKTV.

Rice, a student at Colorado Springs Early Colleges, then jumped to action. He ran from the back of the bus, got behind the wheel, drove the bus through on-coming traffic and to the side of the road and where he brought the bus to a safe stop using the emergency brake.

"I wasn't thinking at all. I just acted. I was scared; I didn't know what to do," he said.

While the bus was heading towards oncoming cars Rice says he saw one very frightening thing: a "blue semi truck it was coming straight at us .. you could hear him trying to hit his brake."

None of the 17 students on the bus nor the driver was badly hurt, although Rice got a few bumps when he hit the windshield when the bus abruptly stopped.

Rice's heroism is being recognized all around Colorado Springs. The police department will award him and a separate awards ceremony for him will be held Friday morning in an assembly in front of the entire school.

"We're really thankful for him stepping up and doing what he did," a spokesman for the Early Colleges school said. "If you give kids an opportunity it's amazing what they'll step up to and accomplish."

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