- Photo: DS Bus Lines

Photo: DS Bus Lines

A school bus driver in Kansas is being praised for keeping students on his bus safe amid a tornado outbreak. DS Bus Lines driver Roger Smith was transporting 30 students from Piper High School in Kansas City to a choir competition in Wichita, nearly three hours away, when they found themselves in the middle of a severe weather outbreak, according to a press release.

About 40 miles out from their destination, the bus began shaking heavily in the high winds, causing some students to exhibit motion sickness symptoms. Smith had trouble finding a place to safely pull the bus over to seek shelter.

A tornado is spotted near where the group took shelter in El Dorado, Kansas. - Photo: DS Bus Lines

A tornado is spotted near where the group took shelter in El Dorado, Kansas.

Photo: DS Bus Lines

Three students on the bus -- Brody Lanter, Jackson Morgan, Brylee Pryz -- helped him navigate the storm by monitoring weather radar apps and locating safe shelter locations. The students were able to help Smith find a nearby Walmart store. Smith and Choir Director Shelly Cole led the students to shelter at the store, where they stayed until the all-clear was given. After the storm passed, the students boarded the bus and arrived to the competition safely without injury.

“I have been the Choir Director at Piper for 22 years, and have been teaching for 27 years. This is hands down the scariest thing I have experienced,” said Mrs. Cole.

Smith, Cole, and the three students who helped Smith were honored at a recent Piper USD 203 school board meeting.

Smith said the school bus he was driving, a Thomas Saf-T-Liner C2 School Bus, took a beating on the trip, but it, "held up well."

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