School Bus Driver Hero

By: Hermelinda Vargas
By: Hermelinda Vargas

Bus driver Tonya Boston and attorney Kerry Adkinson used to ride the same bus to school when they were kids. Now, Kerry is thanking Tonya for driving her school bus to safety in a recent accident and potentially saving the lives of his two children and 24 other students.

"I appreciate what she did. My kids are the most precious thing in the world to me," says Kerry.

"It was just like every other morning, until you see a big log truck coming toward you. It changes a little bit," Tonya says.

Put simply, Tonya avoided serious injuries among her students, or worst, by almost counter-intuitive defensive driving.

"When I saw him, I knew that stopping wasn't the thing to do, because he was right there. He was coming, so all I needed to do is try to floor it."

It's the kind of driving that Florida Highway Patrol troopers would like to see more often, especially when children are involved.

FHP trooper Milton Brown was first on scene on that fateful day.

"If she had not given it gas and had instead done what most people would probably have done, was hit brakes, the impact would have been a lot greater, it would have been dead into the side of the bus instead of at the rear and the injuries on the bus would have been a lot more serious."

In all only nine students were taken to the hospital, but all are fine now. Even though the community is thanking Tonya, Tonya says she can't take all the credit.

"I'm only thankful the Lord was with us. He's my co-pilot at all times."

FHP officials say that 138 children were killed in Florida traffic accidents in 2002. They say defensive driving like Ms. Boston's and proper child restraints may prevent similar deaths.


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