DECATUR (CBSDFW.COM) – It started with just a bump. Instead of going over the bump though, Debbie Brady’s school bus just stopped.
“There should have been some indication,” she said. “There wasn’t.”
A rural bridge under pressure from a rain-swollen creek collapsed as the four-ton school bus drove over it Thursday afternoon.
Brady had four children on board, all less than a mile from their homes.
The front of the bus was disappearing into a growing hole. The back was rising higher into the air by the minute.
Brady had trained for accidents and tornadoes. A bridge collapse was never covered. But she said she took control, and led each student out the front of the bus.
The pavement was crumbling, but enough was left that the students could walk across the gap that was opening up. “I said ‘go over to the railing, go over to the edge, and I’ll meet you there.’ They did exactly what they were told.”
Third grade student Donald Burrier was on the bus with his brother Tanner. He said it was clear there was no way out of the situation except the one Brady led them too. “If we went out the back door we could have gotten injured because the back was like 8 feet up.”
Brady led each student off, and instead of waiting for rescue crews, decided to continue on with her job. She started walking each student home, until one of them eventually borrowed her cell phone to call a parent to come pick them up.
Not a single student was hurt.
Wise County has started receiving reports earlier in the day of a small dip developing in the bridge. Crews were on their way to close it down, but arrived 15 minutes after the bridge gave way.
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