MONTVILLE, Ohio (WJW) – Dylan Boyland, a full-time mechanic with the Medina City School Transportation Department, was driving a school bus for the first time with students on board as part of his driver training Tuesday morning.
Nearing the end of his morning route, with about 15 students on board, Boyland was stopped while picking up students on their way to school.
“First time with kids on the bus, you’ve really got to get in that driving mode and just take your training to the best that you know you can do,” said Boyland.
On his second to last stop, cameras on and inside the bus show a student just sitting down when they hear the sound of a truck horn coming from behind.
“You could hear the horn before you could see the truck,” said Boyland.
From a dash camera mounted in the truck, it is clear the panicked driver is unable to stop the truck and has to make a split-second decision to avoid a catastrophic collision.
“You need to take a situation and you need to identify it, predict the outcome, decide what you are going to do and then do it so to make those decisions in that short window and maneuver around the vehicles that he went around, he’s one of my heroes after watching it,” said Medina Schools Transportation Director Robert Travis.
The truck’s dash camera shows a vehicle behind the school bus pulling off the road.
A front-facing camera on the school bus shows the driver of a pickup truck stopped for the bus in the opposite lanes, backing up into another SUV, attempting to create as large a gap as possible for the racing truck to pass.
“In his statement, he told us that he was trying to stop. He realized he couldn’t stop in time and he began downshifting, blowing the horn, hitting the lights, flashing the lights and doing everything in his power to alert everyone – the oncoming traffic, the car behind the school bus and the bus – that he’s coming through and he’s not going to be able to stop,” said Montville Police Chief Matt Neil.
Boyland made the decision to keep his bus where it was.
“You have to know how much time you have to move and where you are at in the situation,” said Boyland.
“Had they moved, they would have moved into his path instead of staying out of it,” said Travis.
The videos show the truck narrowly missing the bus as it races past it on the driver’s side, the truck driver managing to squeeze it through a small opening without hitting anyone or anything.
“He did an excellent job in 15 seconds he had to put that 80,000-pound rig somewhere and he was able to thread that needle and do it without injuring or hitting anything,” said Neil.
“To see the cameras, the video at first was a little shocking but the more we watched, the more we saw the things that went right that morning,” said Travis.
Chief Neil says any questions that might arise from watching a truck race around a stopped school bus at a bus stop are put into perspective by watching the truck’s video, on which the driver could clearly be heard desperately doing everything possible to avoid a collision.
“One of the aspects we take away from this is that how different of an opinion you may have when there’s a dashcam involved that you can see what’s really going on, whether it be in the truck, in the school bus or if one of the other vehicles had dash camera,” said Neil.
The truck eventually was able to be slowed to a stop within about a quarter of a mile of the incident.
Boyland said many of the kids on the bus seemed not even to realize the serious nature of what was happening at the time.
“Some of them kind of knew what was going on a little bit but others were like ‘what was that truck?'” said Boyland.
The Ohio State Highway Patrol is investigating the incident, focusing on the maintenance and inspections of the truck, including a pre-run inspection by the driver.
That driver, in the meantime, is being complemented by everyone involved for the decisions he made with just seconds to spare.