By Dani Palmer
The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON, Ind. — One Highland Middle School student is still in Riley Hospital for Children after a Monday car accident, but his family is very grateful to the bus driver who helped him.
It was around 7 a.m. Monday when Roselynn Evans, 64, of Anderson, fell asleep for just a moment while driving her 1999 Pontiac Grand Prix northbound on 38th Street, Anderson Police Department spokesman Joel Sandefur said.
Evans was taking her 12-year-old grandson, Jonathan Perez, to school when she drove off the north side of the road and collided with a guard rail, the car inverting and skidding to a rest near Helena Avenue on its top, Sandefur said.
Julie Guerra, 19, said her grandmother was treated and released from St. Vincent Anderson Regional Hospital for minor scratches while her brother was later transported to Riley in Indianapolis, where he’s in stable condition and awaiting more surgery.
”He has more guts than I do,” she said. “I’m very proud of him.”
She added that the family is very grateful for Anderson Community Schools bus driver Richard Shannon’s quick thinking and that her brother is calling him his hero.
It was shortly after the crash that Shannon pulled over his bus of about 40 students, on their way to Highland Middle School, near a cornfield to help.
”What drew my attention was that I saw dust flying, a cloud of dust, and I knew something bad had happened,” he said.
Shannon directed Highland eighth-grader Josh Jones, 13, to jump on the radio and told others to use their cellphones to call 911. Then he and Highland students Payton Harrington, 15, and Nicholas Simmons, 13, got off the bus to help.
Evans had crawled out of the car on her own but Perez was still in the vehicle. “He was very distraught and obviously hurt,” Shannon described.
He encouraged Perez to crawl out if he could, which the boy did, and then, upon seeing a deep gash on Perez’s arm, asked Harrington to hand over his belt for use as a tourniquet.
Harrington and Simmons ran back to the bus to grab paper towels to cover the wound and reassured their friend.
”Me and Nicholas kept calming him down,” Harrington said. “He kept asking if he’d be OK.”
Back on the bus, Jones and Lateche Norris, 11, manned the radio thanks to practice and observation in the past. Norris said she was a bit nervous, but tried to remain calm, and added that some of the students on the bus were visibly upset because Perez was a friend.
At the end of it all, only about 15 minutes later, Shannon said he was “very pleased” with the way students “maintained their cool.”
Highland Principal Kelly Durr added that the school and district is very proud of Shannon and the students — “They stepped up when necessary.” The school board recognized the group at its monthly meeting Tuesday.
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