A bus driver is being praised for saving the day after a head-on crash sent the vehicle careening toward a group of students on a sidewalk.
There were about seven people onboard the CTTransit bus when it crashed on Pleasant Street around 8 a.m. The bus went spiraling towards a group of about a dozen students and the whole crash was caught on camera.
“It didn’t give me time to maneuver or anything like that,” CTTransit bus driver Brian Austin said at that time I didn’t have time to blow the horn or anything he was right their boom.”
Every angle of the video from the Connecticut Department of Transportation shows just what a close call it was.
“He was coming fine in his lane everything was OK and then for a split-second I see he got distracted,” Austin said.
Austin, who is 26 and from Bloomfield, was on his normally scheduled route on Pleasant Street when the video shows the driver of the Honda cross the double yellow line and slam into the front left end of the bus.
“He put his head down the car just changed lanes and came on into me,” Austin said. “And after he hit me the bus kind of angled off and I was headed straight to the kids and the pole.”
The impact sent the bus hurtling toward a group of children, but Austin managed to keep control and stop in the nick of time.
“In my head, I’m saying I’m going to hold onto this bus,” Austin said. “I’m not going to hit anything else. At that point I was trying to stop the bus at that point.”
Austin has been driving buses since he was 21 years old. School buses for three years and then CTTransit.
“Kids were screaming as they were running away too they were like deer in headlights,” Austin said.
The driver and passenger in the car suffered minor injuries and one person on the bus was taken to the hospital. All are expected to be OK.
No word yet if the driver of the car is facing charges.
Austin has a family with a 4-year-old daughter at home and the superintendent of safety and training at cttransit said he and co-workers are proud of him.
He kept the bus on the road and avoided catastrophe.
“He did an excellent job,” John Elkey, who superintendent of safety and training for CTTransit, said. “He did exactly what I hope all of our operators would do under situations such as that.”
“Everything happened for the best you know someone can learn from it,” Austin said.
Elkey said they are going to be using the video from this crash to teach future drivers about what to do in these types of situations.
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