Hero coach who kept runaway bus from crashing shares his story

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by Larry Seward / KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on December 1, 2011 at 6:53 PM

Updated Monday, Dec 5 at 3:46 PM

HITCHCOCK, Texas -- Their driver passed out. His bus swerved out-of-control. What happened next is the kind of thing students at a Hitchcock Middle School can never forget.

When they put on Crosby Middle School’s red jerseys, they hear his voice.

"(Coach always says) stay focused and represent your school how you want to represent your parents," said Wayland Hurst, a captain on the 8th grade basketball team.

Coach Jerome Cargile demands discipline, especially on game-day buses.

"I tell them do whatever it is you need to get focused," Cargile said.

Monday night, everyone was focused on playing rival Boling. However, as their bus reached 45 miles-an-hour on a curvy two-lane road, something happened. It was an emergency, a distraction no one on board could ignore.

"I kind of took one of my ear buds out and then the bus went on the other side of the road," Hurst said.

Virginia Woodard, whose grandson plays on the team, was following behind with her daughter.

"When I saw the bus’ back wheels come up (off the pavement), I just started screaming, please, Lord don’t let the bus turn over," Woodard said.

Coaches jumped from their seats. One grabbed the driver. Cargile took control.

"I came up front and grabbed the steering wheel to get it back on the road," he said. "As I jacked the steering wheel, the bus almost tipped over. So I had to turn the wheel back and get it to the side of the road."

"I got on the bus and I told (the players) whoever saved ya’ll, you ought to pray and thank them," Woodard said.

Hitchcock Independent School District officials do not know why the driver passed out. The superintendent said he’s heard two stories: that the driver choked on ice then blacked out or suffered some sort of diabetic shock.

Either way, parents want it investigated. As for the basketball teams, they won their games at Boling. Players said they used that focus preached -- and clearly practiced -- by their coach.

This story was brought to you thanks to our partnership with The Galveston County Daily News.

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