Students bring bus under control

Published 12:25 am Friday, October 26, 2007

NATCHEZ — When Nicholas Smith a 16-year-old high school student, saw his bus driver start to shake and gasp for air, he knew something was wrong.

“He just took sick,” Smith said.

When the substitute diver, Seawood Dixon, could no longer control the bus, Smith and his friend Elbert “P.J.” King sprang into action.

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Smith stepped on the brake while P.J. put the bus in neutral.

“Nobody really panicked,” Smith said.

Smith then used the buses’ radio to call the bus station for help. Smith said an ambulance arrived about 15 minutes later.

Oddly enough, Smith said the regular driver, Shermain Jackson, had shown him how to use the radio in the event of an emergency.

Smith and about a dozen other students were on the bus to Natchez High School on Hutchins Landing Road when Smith said the driver looked to be having a seizure.

A representative from Durham School Services, Tiffini Bloniarz, said the driver died as a result of a heart attack.

As of now it is unclear if Dixon died at the scene or at Natchez Regional Hospital where he was taken.

Nicey King, P.J.’s mother, was the first parent at the scene and said when she and another parent, LaShonda Collins, a nurse, attempted to revive the driver he had no pulse.

Luckily the driver was in the process of turning the bus around and was traveling at a very low rate of speed.

Natchez High School’s assistant principal Cleveland Moore said the student’s mature actions provided safety for their fellow students.

“They remained calm and they are to be commended for their actions,” he said.