EAST HAMPTON, Conn. — A school bus driver here has been credited with saving one of his passengers from being hit by a vehicle that failed to stop for the bus.
In early February, 9-year-old Naomi Mastroianni exited the bus and was trying to cross the street to get home, where her mother was waiting. Randy Kronick, a DATTCO driver for East Hampton Public Schools, acted quickly to stop the girl from entering the path of an oncoming SUV.
Kronick credits his actions to the safety procedures put in place by DATTCO. As part of those procedures, DATTCO drivers are trained to ensure close communication with their students and assist them in crossing streets. Students and drivers typically maintain eye contact, and the students know to wait for cues from the driver when it is deemed safe to cross.
Kronick said that he does not consider himself a hero — he was just doing his job. He said that what saved Naomi’s life that day was adhering to safety guidelines and making sure students follow the rules and stay in contact with him until they are safely with their parent or guardian.
This year, DATTCO launched a new campaign — “Safety Starts with Me” — in which employees across all divisions have pledged to make safety their priority when on the job. Eric Thompson, East Hampton branch manager, and Phil Johnson, vice president of DATTCO’s school bus division, agree that Kronick’s actions are a prime example of how prioritizing safety and practicing consistency with procedures can make all the difference in a life-or-death situation.
Since the incident, Kronick has slightly altered his route so that Naomi is dropped off directly in front of her home and does not have to cross the street, a change that was welcomed by the school district, DATTCO, and Naomi’s mother.
“At DATTCO, the safety of the children we transport is our number-one priority,” said Don DeVivo, president of DATTCO. “We are so grateful for Randy and his heroic actions. We pride ourselves on employing the best transportation professionals in the country, and Randy certainly is a stellar example of this.”