For School Bus Hero, Crisis Didn't Compete With a Cellphone

Father says Dillon Reeves spotted the emergency instantly because he wasn't distracted by a screen
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 28, 2023 2:00 PM CDT
Updated May 15, 2023 7:05 PM CDT
UPDATE May 15, 2023 7:05 PM CDT

The father of the 13-year-old who grabbed the controls when a school bus driver became incapacitated said there's a reason his son noticed the problem instantly: He wasn't staring at a cellphone. "What else are you going to do when you don’t have a phone?" Steve Reeves told CBS News. "You're going to look at people. You're going to notice stuff." Other young passengers didn't notice the driver's distress, and other passengers had cellphones. "It's a very powerful lesson. Maybe a change-the-world kind of lesson, I don't know," the father of Dillon Reeves said. The choice wasn't necessarily Dillon's. "My parents are old-school, I guess," he said.

Apr 28, 2023 2:00 PM CDT

A bus ride home this week from a Michigan middle school could have turned tragic. Thanks to a quick-thinking seventh grader, however, all is well, and he's being hailed as a hometown hero. The Buffalo News reports that 13-year-old Dillon Reeves was on the bus Wednesday afternoon with other students from Lois E. Carter Middle School in Warren when he noticed something wasn't right with his bus driver. In a video provided by Warren Consolidated Schools and shown on FOX 2 Detroit and ABC News, the driver is seen on her bus radio telling the dispatcher she's dizzy and is going to pull the bus over, as per protocol. That didn't happen, however—instead, the video shows her start to experience seizure-like twitching as her hands drop from the steering wheel, at which point Dillon jumps into action as the bus begins veering into traffic.

Per WCS Superintendent Robert Livernois, the boy leaped out of his seat five rows back, "threw his backpack down, ran to the front of the bus, grabbed the steering wheel, and brought the bus to a stop in the middle of the road," as other kids on the bus screamed. "Someone call 911—now!" Dillon commanded the others. Livernois says that fire and police officials were at the scene within minutes and started tending to the 40-year-old bus driver, who regained consciousness after they arrived, per Fire Commissioner Skip McAdams. She was said to be in stable condition and still hospitalized for tests as of Thursday evening. No other injuries were reported, McAdams tells CNN.

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At a Thursday news conference, Dillon's mother, Ireta Reeves, says she asked her son how he knew how to handle the controls of the bus. She said Dillon replied, "I watch her do it every day." Livernois lauded Dillon's "extraordinary act of courage and maturity," calling out the fact that the student knew enough in that chaotic moment to not slam on the brakes, but to apply them slowly, so that the nearly full bus would come to a gentle stop. Dillon's parents, who tell the Detroit Free Press that their son is a quiet kid who likes sports and wants to be either a police officer or hockey player when he grows up, said at the presser that they consider him their "little hero." "To do something like this just ... makes my heart skip a beat," his proud mom said. (More uplifting news stories.)

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