Students steer school bus to safety after driver collapses

March 15, 2022 GMT
This photo provided by the Topsham Police Department shows a school bus that students steered to safety after the 77-year-old male driver suffered a medical event that left him incapacitated, Monday, March 14, 2022, in Topsham, Maine. The driver, Arthur McDougall, died later that day. Two students assisted in stopping the bus while a third student attempted to administer first aid. (Topsham Police Department via AP)
This photo provided by the Topsham Police Department shows a school bus that students steered to safety after the 77-year-old male driver suffered a medical event that left him incapacitated, Monday, March 14, 2022, in Topsham, Maine. The driver, Arthur McDougall, died later that day. Two students assisted in stopping the bus while a third student attempted to administer first aid. (Topsham Police Department via AP)
This photo provided by the Topsham Police Department shows a school bus that students steered to safety after the 77-year-old male driver suffered a medical event that left him incapacitated, Monday, March 14, 2022, in Topsham, Maine. The driver, Arthur McDougall, died later that day. Two students assisted in stopping the bus while a third student attempted to administer first aid. (Topsham Police Department via AP)
This photo provided by the Topsham Police Department shows a school bus that students steered to safety after the 77-year-old male driver suffered a medical event that left him incapacitated, Monday, March 14, 2022, in Topsham, Maine. The driver, Arthur McDougall, died later that day. Two students assisted in stopping the bus while a third student attempted to administer first aid. (Topsham Police Department via AP)
This photo provided by the Topsham Police Department shows a school bus that students steered to safety after the 77-year-old male driver suffered a medical event that left him incapacitated, Monday, March 14, 2022, in Topsham, Maine. The driver, Arthur McDougall, died later that day. Two students assisted in stopping the bus while a third student attempted to administer first aid. (Topsham Police Department via AP)

TOPSHAM, Maine (AP) — A group of Maine middle and high school students grabbed the wheel of their school bus Monday morning when their driver suffered a fatal medical condition, steering the vehicle to safety while another classmate attempted to administer first aid to the stricken driver.

Topsham Police Chief Marc Hagan thanked the students for their quick, “deliberate action to save lives.”

The bus was carrying 14 students when the driver collapsed at the wheel, Topsham police told the Portland Press Herald. They were able to steer the bus off the road and apply the brakes, stopping the vehicle on an embankment before calling 911 and flagging down traffic, according to the newspaper.

Their driver, 77-year-old Arthur McDougall, of Lisbon, was taken to a hospital Monday morning and died, the interim superintendent of Maine School Administrative District 75 said.

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No students were injured. Another bus arrived and took them to school.

The school district and local authorities were working Tuesday to support the students in the aftermath of the driver’s death, said Gabrielle Mathieu, school resource officer with the Topsham Police Department.

“At this time we are giving the families and students time to process the incident,” Mathieu said.