Emmanuel Williams, 17, is being haled as a hero for saving his 24 fellow high school students from injury or worse as they headed home on Wednesday.
Williams noticed the bus swerve several times as it traveled northbound on Interstate 5. When the teen, who was seated near the front of the bus, saw the driver, a 65-year-old male, miss the exit and start to nod off, he took action.
“I was looking at him and his eyes would close, and when we’d get to a turn, he’d look both ways, start driving again, and they would close more and more,” Williams told local ABC affiliate KOMO.
“As soon as I see his head go down, and I see the bus go back to the freeway, I hop up, get to the front of the bus as fast as I can,” he said.
In the video Williams can be seen rushing to the driver’s side and grasping the hand of the driver, Williams looks into his face to make sure he’s awake, and then sits in the row directly behind the driver.
Williams never takes control of the bus itself but sat behind the driver the rest of the way talking to him and keeping him alert.
“Something would have happened if I didn’t get up,” Williams told KOMO. “I know that there would have been a big huge thing going on because he would have crashed and it would have been a whole lot more than what it is now.”
The driver eventually pulled over and the bus company was contacted and sent a replacement driver out immediately to take over. In the meantime the bus driver who worked for the company for 8 years was said to have a clean record. He has since been placed on administrative leave while both the bus company and school district investigate.
Here’s the video of the teen waking the sleepy bus driver.