DARTMOUTH, MASS. (WHDH) - Several Dartmouth middle schoolers are calling their bus driver a hero for staying calm during a grisly crash Tuesday after a deer flew through the bus windshield, injuring the driver and four students.

Officers responding to a reported crash on Chase Road about 7:12 a.m. determined a vehicle hit the deer, launching it through the windshield of the oncoming bus, Dartmouth police said.

Bus driver Mark Jardin, 57, said he was on his way to Dartmouth Middle and High schools when the deer — that was still alive and kicking — suddenly landed in his lap.

“I see the deer coming out of the woods, the car strike it, the deer goes up airborne thru the windshield and into my chest and lap,” Jardin recalled. “He was still alive and I was trying to hold him because he was falling around and scratching me.”

The students on the bus were also taken by surprise.

“All I heard was a big errrr … pssssh … and the deer just went flying through the windshield,” said eighth-grader Zachary Lake.

“I looked up for a second and all I saw was pssssh … I was just like what the heck,” said eighth-grader Zhoe Rodrigues. “I had deer organs all over me.”

Four students suffered minor injuries but Jardin suffered a broken hand.

Lake and Rodrigues recalled Jardin being hurt but said he kept his cool.

“He had blood on his hand, he had it on his legs, his bone was sticking out of his middle or ring finger and they’re all crooked to the left,” Lake said.

“The bus driver was all calm,” Rodrigues continued. “He was just like code red. I think I broke my hand.”

Jardin, who has been driving for the bus company since 2014, will need surgery for his hand. In a statement, he thanked people who assisted after the crash and said he was concerned about the safety of his passengers.

“When the deer came through the windshield, my first thought was to get the children off the bus and to a safe place,” Jardin said. “I escorted them into a yard away from traffic and several good Samaritans stopped to help, I am grateful that none of the children were seriously injured.”

In a statement, Gifford called Jardin a “hero,” and students said they hoped Jardin would be OK.

“I hope my bus driver is OK cause he’s just a really nice guy,” Lake said.

The crash remains under investigation.

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