A young boy has become the hero of his school and community in the Central Region after quickly braking a moving school bus after the driver collapsed behind the steering wheel.
Augustine Nii Odoi Laryea, 13, said he stepped on the brakes of the school bus that was shuttling about 50 people home last month because the bus was moving towards a dangerous pit
The driver of the vehicle was rushed to the hospital after the incident but was eventually pronounced dead.
Thirteen-year-old Augustine Nii Odoi Laryea is being hailed as a hero at his school, Carefield School Complex at Bawjiase in the Central Region, after acting on impulse to stop a moving school bus after the driver collapsed.
The incident happened last month but did not get media attention, according to local language TV station Onua TV.
There were at least 50 people on the bus – comprising pupils, teachers and a caterer – when the incident happened.
Augustine Nii Odoi Laryea (R) acted fast to save the lives of over 50 people on a bus that was going to crash, and a file photo of a school bus that had crashed.
On Friday, August 11, 2023, producers of Onua Maakye, the TV station’s morning show, featured young Augustine on a segment of the programme, to hear the full story and acknowledge his bravery.
YEN.com.gh monitored the show, and when he was asked by the host of Onua Maakye, Captain Smart, why he stepped in to avoid what could have been a road disaster. Augustine said he noticed that the bus was switching lanes haphazardly from left to right, something that was uncharacteristic of the driver.
“We had closed from school and heading home…the driver was driving carelessly until we got to Opembo bridge getting to Bawjiase from Kasoa. The bridge is under construction so the driver tried to give way to an oncoming vehicle, but I realised that the vehicle was heading towards a pit under the [Opembo] bridge under construction,” he said in Twi.
The class pupil of Carefiled School Complex said at this point, he was convinced something was utterly wrong because that was not how the driver handled the vehicle when they closed from school and was heading home.
He said he was sitting close to the driver at the time so he looked at the driver curiously and saw that the man behind the steering wheel was foaming at the mouth.
“When I saw that [foam at the driver’s mouth] I stepped on the brake of the bus. Everyone started screaming and shouting. Some people were even insulting me,” he recalled.
Even after stepping on the brake, the bus did not come to a complete stop so the caterer on the bus and another teacher quickly got out and put a chock under the vehicle.
Augustine, who disclosed that he knows how to drive, said with the bus temporarily secured he shouted to his colleagues to get off as quickly as they can and they did so.
The driver, who was at point unconscious behind the steering wheel, was rushed to the Bawjiase Hospital and later transferred to a hospital in Buduburam where he was pronounced dead by doctors.
In school, teachers who heard what had happened insisted every pupil hail Augustine Nii Odoi Laryea as a hero.
Augustine’s quick decision and knowledge about vehicles have astounded other drivers who drive the other buses belonging to the school.
The PTA of the school has resolved to award young Augustine during the school’s graduation ceremony scheduled for September this year.