11-year-old stops school bus after driver suffers medical emergency, loses control

David Albers/Staff 
 - Florida Highway Patrol interviews witnesses at the scene of a school bus accident along Weber Boulevard on Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2012, in Naples.  An 11-year-old Oakridge Middle School student managed to bring the bus to a stop after the driver suffered a heart attack.

Photo by DAVID ALBERS, Naples Daily News // Buy this photo

David Albers/Staff - Florida Highway Patrol interviews witnesses at the scene of a school bus accident along Weber Boulevard on Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2012, in Naples. An 11-year-old Oakridge Middle School student managed to bring the bus to a stop after the driver suffered a heart attack.

David Albers/Staff
A Florida Highway Patrol trooper interviews witnesses at the scene of the accident.

Photo by DAVID ALBERS, Naples Daily News // Buy this photo

David Albers/Staff A Florida Highway Patrol trooper interviews witnesses at the scene of the accident.

David Albers/Staff 
 - Eleven-year-old Jackson Bonar, of Naples, watches first-responders work the scene of a school bus accident he was involved in after the driver suffered a heart attack along Weber Boulevard on Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2012, in Naples.  The Oakridge Middle School student said when the driver slumped over, he took control of the steering wheel and pressed the brake pedal, bringing the bus to a stop as it hit a fence.

Photo by DAVID ALBERS, Naples Daily News // Buy this photo

David Albers/Staff - Eleven-year-old Jackson Bonar, of Naples, watches first-responders work the scene of a school bus accident he was involved in after the driver suffered a heart attack along Weber Boulevard on Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2012, in Naples. The Oakridge Middle School student said when the driver slumped over, he took control of the steering wheel and pressed the brake pedal, bringing the bus to a stop as it hit a fence.

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.

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