BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Talk about being in the right place, at the right time. A woman jumps behind the wheel of a MTA bus after the driver suddenly becomes unconscious.
Jessica Kartalija explains what happened.
She is being called a hero for her quick thinking that kept a bus full of children safe.
A dreary afternoon commute on busy Reisterstown Road turned a little bit brighter thanks to a Good Samaritan.
“Waiting for the 59, and the 18, a bus I had never seen before, was driving down the street. He saw me. It was raining. He picked me up and said ‘I’m going that way,’” explained Janai Stafford, of Northeast Baltimore.
The man–who was driving a bus full of elementary school children– let her in near Woodholme Shopping Center, and then things took a turn for the worse.
“He says, ‘Something’s not right,’ then he says ‘I don’t feel well,’ and then all of a sudden he passed out,” Stafford said.
That’s when Stafford became the Good Samaritan, grabbing the wheel and shoving her foot over his.
“We were going down a hill, and I had to pull it to the side, and I had never driven a bus before a day in my life,” Stafford said.
Stafford credits adrenaline and what she calls her motherly instinct for her quick thinking.
“Any person in my situation I think would have done the same thing,” Stafford said. “I guess it was just meant to happen.”
“We are told she contacted police and got a medic to the scene so the operator could get to the hospital and get checked out,” said Terry Owens, MTA spokesman.
The MTA is reviewing video from inside the bus to determine exactly what happened moments before the bus driver passed out.
Stafford says she’s just happy she was there to help.
“It was definitely meant to be. If I didn’t get on that bus, tragedy could have happened,” she said.
Miraculously, everyone on board that bus is just fine.
The bus driver, who is believed to be in his mid 40s, has been treated and released from the hospital. He will undergo a thorough medical exam before he can get back behind the wheel.