(WBTW) – A school bus driver in Darlington County is being recognized as a hero after rescuing 40 students from a fiery wreck Tuesday morning.
The South Carolina Highway Patrol reported the crash happened around 7 a.m. on East McIver Road near Riverview Road.
Bernadine Reed had only been a school bus driver for 45 days — and never imagined being in a situation like this.
“My hazard lights were on and I told the kids we were approaching the tracks. Once we approached the tracks we came to a complete stop, and the man ran into the back of the bus,” said Reed.
Reed quickly realized something else was going on during the accident.
“A little girl from the back of the bus said it’s smoking. So I then opened the door and I told everybody to get off the bus,” Reed said.
The bus driver said her maternal instincts came out when she realized both the vehicle and the bus were going up in flames.
“We got off the bus and we exited to the right of the field. The only thought I had was getting off the bus and saving them,” said Reed.
Darlington County Schools Public Information Officer Audrey Childers said no one was injured in the crash, and all parents were notified.
Reed is thankful for the training bus drivers received because it prepared her for these type of situations.
“I always talk to them and tell them, you know, we have to look out for certain things, we have to keep our eyes open in case of an emergency,” said Reed.
The school bus driver didn’t let a fiery wreck stop her from working. Later that afternoon, Reed drove another school bus and continued her normal route.
The other driver Nelson Crowley, 29, of Patrick, South Carolina, was charged with driving too fast for conditions, according to Cpl. Sonny Collins, with the South Carolina Highway Patrol.
The South Carolina Highway Patrol continues to investigate the crash.