Vikki Boyce Czechowicz (left) was honored with a Heroism Award plaque, presented by Tonya Phillips, a manager for STA, for evacuating students from her bus right before it caught fire. Photo courtesy Student Transportation of America

Vikki Boyce Czechowicz (left) was honored with a Heroism Award plaque, presented by Tonya Phillips, a manager for STA, for evacuating students from her bus right before it caught fire. Photo courtesy Student Transportation of America

ATTICA, N.Y. — A school bus driver here was recognized this summer for quickly evacuating over a dozen students from her school bus right before it caught fire.

Vikki Boyce Czechowicz, a school bus driver for Student Transportation of America, serving Attica Central School District, was proceeding through her morning route on May 28 when she noticed smoke coming from under the dashboard, according to Doug Coupe, the school bus company’s director of communications. She then radioed dispatch that she was evacuating her 19 students.

After the students had exited the bus, Czechowicz went back to check for sleeping students. As she came to the front of the bus, she saw flames coming from the engine area, and within minutes the school bus was fully engulfed in flames.

“It was due to this driver’s quick thinking and school bus safety training that all the students were safely evacuated,” said Paul Overbaugh, director of pupil transportation for the New York State Education Department.

Czechowicz was honored for her actions with a Heroism plaque from the New York State Education Department and the Pupil Transportation Safety Institute.

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