Heartland Bus Driver deemed “a hero” for stopping malfunctioned-bus

Published: May. 7, 2019 at 10:29 PM CDT
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SESSER, IL (KFVS) - A Heartland bus driver Judy Scott is being hailed a hero for safely stopping a bus after a catastrophic failure.

Scott, who the students call Ms. Judy, was traveling 67 miles per hour on Interstate 57 leaving Champaign, Illinois for a math competition.

Twenty-four high school students and two teacher chaperones on board the new 2019 bus.

“We’ve got a problem,” is what Ms. Judy said. “No power steering, I had no brakes, the only thing that I had was this emergency brake.”

Ms. Judy drives the school bus every school day for 43 years, but last Saturday, she experienced something she had never experienced before.

“When I hit that bump, I lost everything. I lost all power. Then I just had to coast, because that was the only thing I could do. My first instinct was to get us off of the road. Onto the shoulder," she said.

Montana Packer is a junior at Sesser-Valier High School. She’s and her teammates were ecstatic for winning 6th in the state and 2nd place for public schools at their math competition at University of Illinois.

She remembers when the bus started going off the road.

“We started going all the road, at first I thought - oh we are just hitting the grooves a little bit and then we kept riding on the grooves so the bus was kind of bumpy and I thought oh maybe it’s a flat tire," she said.

Sgt. Christopher Watson with Illinois State Police said Ms. Judy performed her job well.

“Professional and training and experience she has, they went a long way. She did an excellent job. She went above and beyond," he said.

Watson even brings attention to the Scott’s Law because in this instance, drivers obeyed the Move Over Law. '

“It’s very important for motorist to pay attention not only for first-responders sake, but also the people involved in the incident," Watson said.

“We were very fortunate that it was only a minor inconvenience, not some major tragedy," said Math Teacher Trevor Stanley.

Ms. Judy believed a divine power aided that evening. “I said my hands weren’t the only one that was on this wheel,” she said.

In a Facebook post, Illinois State Police called Ms. Judy’s actions “nothing short of a miracle” and thanked her.

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