DAVIE COUNTY, N.C. -- The Davie County School District is mourning the loss of one of their bus drivers who died unexpectedly on Thursday.
According to WFMY, Colleen Gaither was on her usual route taking high schoolers home when she passed out behind the wheel.
The students quickly realized something was wrong and jumped into action to stop the bus before it crashed.
"She was trying to stop the bus at our stop. But she couldn't," Kaelyn Angell told the TV outlet. "The first thing we saw was she was leaning against the window... She was just laying there."
A couple of the kids attempted to perform CPR on Gaither until EMS arrived. Medical personnel then took over but were unable to revive her.
Angell said it was traumatic for everyone involved.
"Everyone in the bus was so worried and even some people were crying, so it was pretty emotional," she said.
The students painted a rock outside of the high school on Friday in her honor. The district said Gaither had worked there since 1977.
Gaither's family thanked students who tried to save her. “I knew my mom was a star, but I never knew she was a superstar. She was bigger than life,” Gaither's son, Gordon, told WGHP. “Even while she was passing, she was thinking of them kids, and them kids stepped up and grabbed that wheel," he said.
"She was really, really sweet. She didn't want any harm to anyone, she was always nice to people," said Angell. "On Facebook, there are groups and everyone is praying for her. Everyone is just overwhelmed and upset about it."