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January 17, 2012  |   Comments (3)   |   Post a comment

Heroes in school transportation 2012

In the second edition of this series, we highlight school bus drivers who saved lives with their quick thinking and vital skills. When danger arose, their training — and their instincts — came through.

by SBF Staff


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In his first year as a school bus driver, Evans Okoduwa talked an armed student into handing over his gun.

In his first year as a school bus driver, Evans Okoduwa talked an armed student into handing over his gun.

Calm actions disarm student

Evans Okoduwa
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools
Charlotte, N.C.

Normally, the middle school student was ready to get up and off the bus when his stop approached. But this time, something was different.

School bus driver Evans Okoduwa says that he became alarmed when the student started walking to the back of the bus.

“Where are you going?” Okoduwa called, but he got no response.

The student talked to another passenger and then turned backed toward the front of the bus.

“He walked up to me with an angry look on his face,” recalls Okoduwa, who drives for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. “I heard another student say he had a gun, and I thought his next move was to shoot the bus driver.”

But the student stood silently by Okoduwa, who looked at him in the mirror and asked if he was getting off at that stop. The student said he wasn’t getting off, and he told Okoduwa to keep driving.

“At this point, he had the gun hiding behind my seat, but it wasn’t pointing at me,” Okoduwa says.

After talking a scared passenger out of jumping out of a window, Okoduwa’s attention turned toward taking the gun from the armed student. Okoduwa began talking reassuringly and slowly put his hand on that of the student, who said nothing.

“I asked him a few questions to show concern and care for him, to let him know that ... I was on his side,” Okoduwa recalls. “Eventually, I asked him if I could have the gun. He didn’t say anything, but he slowly released his grip.”

The first-year school bus driver took the gun, led the student off of the bus and left him with a man who had come over to check on the bus. Okoduwa then drove the rest of his passengers to safety.

Tim Woodle, Okoduwa’s supervisor, describes the bus driver’s actions as “very heroic. Not many people would have handled that situation like that — just staying calm and keeping everyone else calm.”

Okoduwa, a native of Nigeria, says his Christian faith carried him through the May 2011 incident. “I make it a habit to calm myself down by praying,” he says. “I did feel a positive premonition — a sense of a good outcome. That helped me become more relaxed.”

—THOMAS MCMAHON

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Read more about: bus fires, first aid/CPR, First Student Inc., school bus crash, stop arm running/illegal passing

I am Noufal from INDIA , I am working in QATAR [gulf]as a heavy bus driver under QATAR GAS company in the british school. I have GCC licence, total 5 years experience in the bus driving then i have defence driving permit from QATAR GAS company . I looking a job in CANADA as a driver in the school bcoz i have expireance in the school. If there is any vacancy u may informe,please with big hopefully Noufal my email id :[email protected]

noufal    |    Jul 30, 2012 02:04 PM

They should make a movie, kool kid with a toy school bus n a hero driving one! Great stuff!!!!

Eduardo martinez    |    Jan 12, 2012 12:35 AM

i got to get him a superman t-shirt

julio    |    Jan 11, 2012 06:10 PM

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