A Collier County sixth-grader is being credited with stopping a school bus Tuesday after the driver suffered an apparent heart attack and lost control.
Jackson Bonar was the last person on the bus as he headed home from his first day of an after-school program at Oakridge Middle School.
He and the bus driver, Robert W. Kelly, were two streets away from his house in Golden Gate Estates around 6 p.m. when the bus started moving slower, then faster. Jackson looked over at the 65-year-old driver.
"He made a strange face at me and fell against the window," the 11-year-old said.
They were headed toward a palm tree when Jackson jumped out of his seat, hit the brakes and steered the bus into a chain-link fence on Weber Avenue near Third Avenue Northwest.
"I figured if it hit the tree, the air bag would go off and hurt him even more," Jackson said.
An Oakridge teacher who happened to be driving by got out of her car and, with the help of another man, opened the bus doors and started to help. Jackson called his mom, who called 911.
Paramedics said Kelly still was alive and conscious when he was taken to the hospital, according to Jackson's mother, Paula Bonar. She said he appeared to have suffered a heart attack.
"That was a great reaction he had going," Bonar said of her son.
Jackson said he knew what to do because he has experience driving golf carts and four-wheelers.
"He's my hero," said his dad, Doug Bonar.