Hillsborough kids share heroic stories of bus crash into pond

Picture from Don Mihokovich via Twitter

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, FL (WFLA) – A Hillsborough County school bus full of young children overturned in a pond September 17th. Sitting on its side at the bottom of the pond, the bus, filled with 27 students from Mary E. Bryant Elementary School, became a dramatic terrifying scene.

Hero Bus-Kids
Four students hold their certificates of commendation. From Left: Nicholas Sierra, Ella Brunelle, Sephanie Swartz and Kate Turlington.

“Hit one tree, which broke the front window. Hit another tree which caused us to tip,” said Nicholas Sierra, 5th grade.

“Next thing I knew, I was in the water,” explained Kate Turlington, 5th grade.

“Everybody was screaming,” said Stephanie Swartz, 5th grade.

Luckily, the 20-year-old bus did not have seatbelts, or the children could have been pinned under water.

“I saw this kid. He was just paralyzed, so I had to tell him what to do,” said Swartz.

Sierra believes he saved his friend, Turlington.

“I grabbed the kindergartener that was on top of her so she could get breath,” he said.

Sierra admits, he’s having nightmares. It’s only been one week.

The awards and gifts from AAA seem to help.

“I feel like a hero. And it feels good,” said Sierra.

“ Everyone on the bus were also heroes because other 5th graders and younger, they were also helping kids,” said Turlington.

They wish it hadn’t happened, but want to share the lessons they’ve learned with other students.

“They should always remember to stay calm,” said Ella Brunelle.

“And if there’s anyone in danger, just help them,” Sierra said.

The bus driver, Lenoir Sainfimin, is facing a careless driving charge. The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office believes he may have ended up in the pond by pressing the brake and gas pedal at the same time.


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