70-year-old bus driver credited for keeping students safe from crash

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OWEN COUNTY, Ind. – A central Indiana bus driver is being called a hero.

Last Monday, 70-year-old Verl Keith and a busload of students were just a few miles away from school when a semi-truck crashed into them. Investigators say the semi hit the driver’s side of the bus, pushing it off the road and towards a line of trees.

“I knew the bank was pretty steep so I kept trying to cut it so it’d go straight over the bank a little bit more and it worked, thank God,” said Keith.

The bus never tipped over and it never hit a tree. Troopers credit Keith for being behind the wheel; he knew if the bus rolled the kids were going to be in even more danger.

“They were scared to begin with, it shook them up a little,” said Keith.

All 31 kids and Keith walked away from the crash. Twelve students went to the hospital to be checked out for cuts from the shattered glass and pain. Keith was hurt the worst, but even the worst was just some cuts to his face and a dislocated finger.

“I was very fortunate and I think I had someone riding with me that morning,” said Keith.

The semi driver wasn’t injured and he checked on everyone on the bus right after the crash.

“He ran right up to me to see if I was alright and he said he hit a slick spot.  I told him ‘that’s ok, I’ll talk to you later I have to take care of the kids,’” said Keith.

The kids on Keith’s bus gave him plenty of cards thanking him for being “a lifesaver” and a “super hero.” The 35-year-old truck driver from Terre Haute was cited for driving left of center and driving too fast for road conditions.

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