2 NH elementary school students spring into action, stop bus after driver collapses

ATKINSON, N.H. (WHDH) - Two quick-thinking Atkinson, New Hampshire elementary school students are being hailed as heroes after springing into action to stop their school bus after their driver collapsed behind the wheel on Tuesday.

Nolan Barry and Thomas MacKeen were among the five students riding on the bus when their driver collapsed and fell out of her chair while it was still moving own Maple Avenue, according to police.

Nolan, 8, and Thomas, 9, jumped out of their seats and rushed to the front of the slow-moving bus.

“I was really scared,” Thomas recalled. “She was not responding to us when we were saying, ‘please get up. Please get up.”

Nolan says when the bus driver didn’t respond, he looked through the bus controls to figure out how to stop.

“I saw this button that said emergency brake so I read the directions,” Nolan said. “You just had to pull, it spin it two times, and let it go, and that’s when I stopped the bus.”

While Nolan was stopping the bus, Thomas was calming down the other three students.

“They were very scared and I just started banging on the windows because I knew just panicking would not do anything,” he said.

When the bus finally came to a stop, Nolan and Thomas tried to kick open the door, but couldn’t so they pounded on the windows instead, calling for help.

“I was really anxious to get off of the bus,” Thomas said.

The pair was able to get the attention of a nearby parent who called 911 and evacuated the kids through the rear emergency door.

The bus driver was taken to a nearby hospital, where she is listed in stable condition.

The parents of the two brave third- and fourth-graders say they are beyond proud.

Nolan’s father, Kevin, said, “To know these guys had the fortitude to jump in, help out, ask for help. You compliment the school and bus system for doing evacuation drills. Making them comfortable in that situation really helped out.”

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