Teacher takes the wheel when bus driver passes out

Teacher takes the wheel when bus driver passes out
Johnny Blake
Johnny Blake

SYLVESTER, GA (WALB) - One south Georgia teacher says she's still in shock after witnessing a bus driver pass out behind the wheel.  But it's what she did next that has coworkers and parents calling her a true hero.

Zakeya Dupree says she was just doing her job, helping however she could to keep the four year old students on the bus safe. But it was her ability to stay calm in a intense situation that ultimately saved everyone aboard.

When Worth County Head Start teacher Zakeya Dupree got on bus 116 for bus patrol Thursday afternoon she had no idea she was in for one wild ride.

"I was talking to another student on the bus, and then when I happened to look up, he just passed out.  He just fell out of the seat," she said.

Dupree says the bus driver Mr. Mathews, fell onto the stairs below, while the bus continued moving down Highway 82.

"At that time, I don't think, I didn't have time to think. I immediately said, I have to stop this bus."

She says the adrenaline kicked in and there was no time to panic. "By this time, the bus was going across the median into oncoming traffic."

She saw a truck coming toward the bus and immediately ran to the wheel. "And then I just hit the brakes and then put the bus in neutral."

She was able to pull the bus over to the side of the road and witnesses helped Mr. Mathews off the bus, and EMS arrived shortly after.
Dupree credits the school's training for her quick thinking. But her coworkers credit her bravery.

"It was just awesome," said Johnny Blake.  'A heroic act. I mean, there's nothing to describe what she did."

A teacher who goes above and beyond for her students.  "I don't consider myself being a hero. I was just doing whatever I had to do to make sure everyone stayed safe," said Dupree.

Zakeya says Mr. Mathews and all four students are okay.  She'll be returning back to school tomorrow morning after taking a few days off to let the shock wear off.

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