Driver Suffered Apparent Heart Attack While Behind Wheel

Student Stops School Bus, Saves Lives

By James Gaddis

July 22, 2010 Updated Mar 7, 2006 at 12:45 AM EDT

The school superintendent says that teenager and others may have prevented a great tragedy.

A school bus was taking students to school Monday morning in Newark Valley, but during the trip their bus driver suffered an apparent heart attack and died.

"I was scared, I felt like I wanted to cry, but I didn't," said 15-year-old student Julie Corson.

After the bus went over some railroad tracks, the driver started veering off the road and hit a mailbox. That's when the students on board realized there was a problem and Julie sprang into action.

"I'm like, this isn't kosher, it's not right, so I got up and hit the brake with my hand," said Corson.

While Julie was trying to stop the bus, two other students were trying to help their unconscious driver.

"Jacky, she held him up so he wouldn't fall over trying to get him to breathe. Sam was helping she was saying 'grab the microphone and call base' so I did that," said Corson.

Julie not only stopped the bus by using her hand on the brake, she radioed for help. Other teenagers on board flagged down a passing truck.

Later, the bus driver was pronounced dead.

Julie's twin brother, Donald, was also on board. He says it could have been worse if his sister hadn’t stopped the bus.

"[We were] pretty close to hitting a building. Thankfully we stopped before. I pretty much saw my life flash before my eyes when that happened. Pretty scary," said Donald Corson.

"I'm pretty proud of her. I've been trying to teach her to drive so I'm kind of proud of that," said Corson's grandfather Mike Hitchcock.

Those driving lessons paid off in a bigger way than anyone ever expected.

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