ONTARIO — A quick thinking Ontario middle school student stopped a school bus from rolling away Tuesday morning after a substitute bus driver failed to set the parking brake.
Chase Larson, 13, and his older brother Stetson take the same bus to school each morning. Stetson gets dropped off at the high school and Chase stays on to go to the middle school.
The bus has a wheelchair accessible back door and as it headed toward the middle school, students alerted the driver that the door was not latched properly. The driver pulled the bus over near the corner of Idaho and 8th and put it in neutral, but did not set the parking brake.
When the driver got up and went to latch the back door, the bus started to move. That is when Chase rushed to the driver’s seat and stepped on the brake.
“A couple kids started screaming and I just had the adrenaline rush to get up and press it,” Chase said.
The driver then quickly returned to his seat and the students were safely transported to the middle school.
The other students on the bus were grateful for Chase’s actions.
“When I sat back down they were like you’re my hero and started laughing,” he said.
Eric Norton, director of personnel and operations for the Ontario School District said approximately seven to 10 students were on board when the incident occurred and no one was injured.
“The substitute driver had all the proper training that he needed,” Norton said. “In the panic that a door didn’t get latched he forgot (to set the brake) in the process. We made the decision we won’t be using his services as a sub.”
Chase’s mother, Rachelle Larson, said her son couldn’t tell her fast enough what had happened.
“When I picked him up after school he jumped in and was so excited and said he had good news and bad news,” she said.
She said she was surprised the driver was careless enough to not put on the parking brakes, but is proud of her son for what he did.
“He is an incredible young man,” she said.