Elementary school bus driver collapses behind the wheel with students on board

ATKINSON, N.H. — It was a scary moment for parents and students after their bus driver collapsed behind the wheel.

For Jesse Silva, the after-school drop-off for his third-grade son is pleasantly routine, but Tuesday, there was a slight deviation.

"The bus stopped maybe ten feet early," said Silva.

With five boys on the bus, Jesse figured the driver was pausing until they all sat down.

"Then it looked like she bent over to pick something up," said Silva.

In fact, what Jesse didn't know, but the kids on the bus did, is that the driver had collapsed.

"At that point, one of the kids knocked on the window and said help."

Silva helped by opening the emergency exit door in the rear of the bus as a neighbor called the police.

"We started getting calls for a medical emergency on a school bus right down the street from the state," said Atkinson Police Chief Timothy Crowley. "We found the bus driver had collapsed on the floor of the bus."

Crowley credits two of the students, one in third grade, one in fourth for stepping up to help in the emergency, both by calming down the others and possibly preventing the bus from rolling.

"I think they deserve a lot of credit for getting involved because a lot of people wouldn't do that," said Crowley.

First Student, the bus driver's employer says she remains in the hospital and called her a dedicated team member for over 20 years. The company thanks everyone who came to her assistance.