BARBERTON, Ohio — The driver of a cement truck that collided with a school bus at an intersection in Barberton on Friday said he did everything in his power to prevent the crash.
Jason Bucklew, 31, who had just started his job driving for an Akron concrete company two weeks ago, told Fox 8 News that the brakes on the truck failed as he was coming down a hill on Clark Mill Road and approaching a red light as the bus had the green light on Norton Avenue.
“It happened so fast, I was trying to get my brakes to work, and they weren’t working and then it was just, ‘boom,’” said Bucklew. “I looked up at the light, ‘boom,’ the bus was coming from my left.”
Bucklew made a split-second decision to try to minimize the impact of the collision with the bus carrying 37 vocational students by yanking his steering wheel hard to the right and turning the truck on its side.
“If anybody was going to die that day, I wanted it to be me, not anybody else, because I’ve got four children of my own, so I know how it is with children,” said Bucklew.
On Friday, the driver of the bus told Fox 8 News that when she realized the truck was not going to be able to stop, she decided her best option was to try to beat the truck through the intersection.
“There was no way to get out from the way from him,” said June Stock.
She decided to accelerate, and as a result, the truck only clipped the back end of the bus.
Because of her quick thinking, only two students suffered injuries that are considered minor.
Bucklew suffered a broken collarbone in the crash and had to be pulled from the truck by good Samaritans, who are still amazed by the performance of Bucklew and Stock.
“The bus driver went, did everything, I guess you say ‘textbook,’ to miss the truck,” said Aaron Cole, one of the men who pulled Bucklew from the wreckage. “And you know [Bucklew] sacrificed himself and the cement truck and laid it over on its side to prevent a t-bone accident and it would have really hurt a lot of kids.”
Investigators are now trying to determine what may have caused the brakes to fail, or if speed played a role in the crash.
*Read more from the bus driver’s perspective.*