GREENVILLE, S.C. — A school bus transporting four special-needs students was struck by a tractor-trailer on Tuesday, but no one aboard was hurt, thanks to the driver and aide who quickly acted on their training.
Bus surveillance video shows the oncoming tractor-trailer crossing into the lane of the bus and driving off the road.
Tammy Cummings, a bus driver and safety trainer for Greenville County Schools, said her training immediately kicked in, according to a news release from the school district. When she saw the tractor-trailer coming toward her, she said, she started to slow down, which is part of the drivers’ training.
“If we see a big vehicle coming toward us, we either slow down or come to a complete stop so they can pass us,” she added. “That way we won’t collide.”
In the video, Cummings holds her arms to cover her face as the trailer slams into the front of the bus. Then she calls dispatch to report the incident as school bus aide Carletta Cyrus comforts students. Cummings also tells dispatch that the power lines are down and they cannot move. After she secures the bus, Cummings helps Cyrus calm the students, and plays a game with one of the children, who is crying.
Adam James, director of transportation for the school district, told WYFF that Cummings wrote the district’s special-needs training textbook.
Cyrus said that she is proud of Cummings, and thankful for the quick actions she took.
“It just clicked in for us because we have good communication, and one took one kid, and the other took the other kid … because of our training,” she added.
Cummings and Cyrus returned to their route the day after the crash. The video of the crash and their response will be used in future bus driver training, according to the school district.
Greenville County Schools tests all its special-needs drivers and aides annually. SBF recently reported on the district's Special Needs Physical Performance Test (SNPPT), which is conducted every year to ensure that special-needs drivers and attendants are both mentally and physically capable of doing the job.
The driver of the tractor-trailer was injured and taken to the hospital, and was charged with driving left of center, South Carolina Highway Patrol troopers told WYFF.
Watch video below of the crash and the driver and aide's actions afterward.