By Anthony Taylor
Quick-thinking student uses lifeguard training to evacuate students from smoking bus
Three weeks ago, bus 410 was hit head-on while going eastbound on Highway 90 by an SUV shoved over the median by a drunk driver, according to authorities. But because of one quick-thinking student and the school’s resource officer, none of the students or bus driver Earl “Pie” Tastet were seriously injured.
“I just heard a loud bang and thought that the bus had blown a tire. None of the students realized that we had actually had a head-on collision,” John Klein, a senior at Hahnville High School, said. “Next thing I knew we were tilted to our side looking down into a ditch.”
Klein then began yelling for the evacuation of the bus.
“I was a lifeguard for three years and if there’s one thing I know it’s that you cannot stay still during an accident,” Klein said. “I stood up immediately and started yelling for everyone to get off of the bus because nobody was moving.”
After Klein’s efforts, the shocked students began to filter out of the bus.
“Once I had actually gotten off of the bus I saw the smashed SUV that had hit the bus and tried to open the door for the lady trapped inside,” Klein said, “The door was jammed shut and wouldn’t budge so I went back to help some of the kids off of the bus.”
As the senior returned to the bus he saw a small fire that had started near the battery box of the bus, which could have turned the accident into a disaster. However, the children were quick to evacuate the bus thanks to Klein.
“Everyone was scrambling to get their book bags and I kept yelling at them to get off of the bus because of the fire in the front,” Klein said.
Officer Hebert, the Hahnville High School resource officer, arrived shortly after the accident and carried Tastet off of the smoking vehicle with a minor head injury.
None of the students aboard the bus where seriously injured but Paula Nazio, the driver that was pushed over the median into the bus, was taken to the hospital in critical condition and died the next morning.
Richard Laurent, the driver who authorities say caused the accident, was re-booked for vehicular homicide and DWI. He is now awaiting trial without bond.