CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Thanks to many collective acts of heroism by Good Samaritans and county officials, all occupants were rescued from the Chesterfield bus that ran off of Hull Street Road, and ended up in a swampy ravine Thursday.
“We all sort of started running toward the bus,” said Coby Anderson, one man who happened to be in the right place at the right time.
Five children between 12 and 17 years old and two adults, 57 and 67 years old, were rescued from the traumatizing experience after the Chesterfield special needs bus they were in overturned on its side.
“I ran in there, jumped on the door. Bunch of kids were just in the water there,” said Dylan Clayton, another community member who rushed to the aide of those inside the vehicle.
Anderson and Clayton told 8News they saw a pickup truck hit the bus while traveling west on Hull Street Road around 3:30 Thursday.
“We didn’t know who all was in there or what age group the kids were, so by the time I got there they were already like one or two people that were on the bus,” Anderson said as he explained his thought process during the rescue.
Chesterfield police said a 1997 Ford F-150 ran off the road before it overcorrected and hit the bus.
“I helped some of the kids calm down and get them out,” Clayton said.
Anderson explained how he assisted the bus driver, and even had to cut her seatbelt to get her free.
“I talked to the bus driver a little bit, asked if she was OK. She was, she couldn’t really get down, she was stuck in a seatbelt,” he said. “So we cut the seat belt, got her down.”
The restraints, while difficult to remove, may have had a hand in saving lives. Eyewitnesses to the incident told 8News that at least one student was also buckled.
According to the Chesterfield Fire Department, everyone who was on the bus during the crash was taken to the hospital.
A Chesterfield School spokesperson put out a brief statement after the crash saying the district has been in touch with the parents of students involved, and administrators appreciate the first responders and eyewitnesses who helped.