Quick Thinking by Bus Driver Prevented Student Injuries, Police Say

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

BARBERTON, Ohio -- As she approached the intersection of Clark Mill Road and Norton Avenue Friday, with 37 vocational students on her bus, June Stock realized a concrete truck was coming right at them and was not going to be able to stop.

Stock was westbound on Norton Avenue with a green light as the truck was about to cross the intersection traveling south on Clark Mill Road.

She says it wasn't a question of whether they were going to collide, but of how bad it was going to be.

"There was no way to get out of it," she told Fox 8 afterwards.

"When I saw him, my nose was right there (at the intersection) and at 35 mph, I'm not stopping, so he's going to take my front door anyhow," Stock said.

Stock says she turned left to cross the center line and decided her best option was to try and beat the truck through the intersection.

"I tried to beat him because I didn't want to get hit on the side," she said, adding she was worried about what might happen with the students on the bus.

"I was scared for them but he could have easily rolled me, and I didn't want that," said Stock.

As she went through the intersection, the truck driver made a hard right turn, rolling over on the driver's side and clipping the rear of the bus as he crashed.

"It shook the ground," said Aaron Cole, who was at work a short distance away. "We heard a big boom and it shook the ground."

Cole said other witnesses went to the bus to make sure the students were OK. He turned his attention toward the truck driver, while the truck was leaking diesel fuel.

"We got the back window out of the truck and then we took him out through the back window and he was walking he was just pretty shaken up," said Cole.

Authorities say only two students and the truck driver had minor injuries, and credit Stock's quick thinking for saving lives.

"I've had 35 years. This is my first accident; it scared me. The kids were good and they all thanked me," said Stock.

"She did a phenomenal job; couldn't ask for anybody that has more care for the students and really prevented a lot of injuries today," said Mark Brown, the school district's Maintenance Supervisor.

Barberton police were investigating the accident on Friday trying, among other things, to determine why the truck driver was unable to stop.

School Superintendent Patti Cleary was among those thankful there wasn't a more catastrophic tragedy, crediting the safety training all of the district's bus drivers are given.

"We have confidence that they know how to do the right thing, so this is a great example when something like this happens, and we can avoid serious injury to our students," said Cleary.

"I've been doing this, it will be 35 years, trained good," concluded Stock. "You watch what you do, check intersections all the time," she added.

Most of the students were transferred to another bus and taken to their regular classes.

"Your kids are great," said Stock, wanting parents to know, "they did what they needed to do, and they were ladies and gentlemen, and I do appreciate that, but I tell them that all the time."