SEALY, Texas — After a school bus driver here had a heart attack and went unconscious at the wheel on Thursday, students took quick action to park and evacuate the bus.
The driver, Gerald Gardner, had just picked up students from Sealy Junior High School and was driving onto Highway 90 when he suddenly became unconscious, according to a news release from Sealy Independent School District. One junior high student and two high school students moved quickly to safely park and evacuate the bus.
Doug Young, the assistant superintendent for the district, told KHOU that once the students stopped the bus, they turned off the engine, and one of the high school students evacuated students off the back of the bus “just like they have been trained to do.”
Three good Samaritans immediately arrived, carried Gardner off the bus, and quickly began administering CPR, according to the school district. Within a minute, the Sealy Fire Department had arrived, and three minutes after that, an ambulance was on scene. First responders were unable to revive Gardner, according to KHOU.
Gardner had died of a heart attack, KTRK reports. He had recently passed a physical exam, according to KHOU.
Gardner, who had driven a school bus for the Sealy Independent School District for 11 years, was 73 years old, according to the Star-Telegram.
The school district also stated in the news release that it is “extremely grateful to the years of service Mr. Gardner gave to Sealy ISD and to our students.
“Our hearts, thoughts, and prayers go out to the Gardner family at this time. We are also fortunate that no students were injured. Our students are to be commended for their quick thinking and remaining calm during the evacuation. In addition, Sealy ISD is very appreciative of the efforts made by the first responders and citizens.”