Man called hero for helping kids from bus crash

By Ryan Ottney

September 23, 2013

Ryan Scott Ottney

PDT Staff Writer

When a school bus from the Scioto County Board of Developmental Disabilities (SCBDD) collided with a vehicle in Minford on Thursday, one man on the bus jumped into action. Now Lonnie Caldwell, of South Webster, is being called a hero for helping the children off the bus to safety.

According to the Portsmouth Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol and SCBDD, the accident happened on Wheelers Mill Road in Minford minutes before 4 p.m. Thursday. According to witnesses, a car crossed left of center, striking the bus head-on and sending it nose-down into a ditch. The driver of the car, a 17-year-old female, was flown to Cabell Huntingon Hospital with non-life threatening injuries. The OSHP dispatcher said those on the school bus were uninjured and the life flight of the injured teenager was more precautionary than serious.

Caldwell attends Star Workshop in Portsmouth, where he mows the grass and maintains the yard. He was riding the bus home Thursday, and was asleep in the back of the bus when the accident occurred.

“I was asleep, and it felt like somebody ran over a dog,” Caldwell said.

Even though he was sore from the accident, Caldwell stood inside the bus and handed children out the back door and down to the driver outside. One child was scared to go, so Caldwell carried her off himself.

“It startled me a little bit, but the kids came first. I got them out first to safety,” Caldwell said. “Just something that happened, and something that had to be done.”

Shawn Jordan, spokesperson for the Scioto Board of DD said Gabby Collins, a young student at the school, also helped get others off the bus. She was not available on Monday, and details of her story were not available.

In order to ensure the health and safety of all individuals involved from SCBDD, the bus driver and any students recommended for evaluation were transported to Southern Ohio Medical Center as a precautionary measure. All other passengers were picked up and transported home.

Ryan Scott Ottney may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 287, or rottney@civitasmedia.com. For breaking news, follow Ryan on Twitter @PDTwriter.