Megabus Hero Grabs Wheel From Unconscious Driver, Steers Bus To Safety

The driver of the Megabus traveling from Philadelphia from Pittsburgh was, witnesses told various local media, “out of it.” She forgot to take her blood pressure medication, became ill, and lost consciousness. Dozing passengers were alerted to her state when two tractor-trailers boxed in the bus. Passengers rushed to the front to help, but one man happened to be in the right place and had the right qualifications. That was a Pittsburgh pastor who has driven a variety of large vehicles, and had just earned his commercial driver’s license.

The bus driver had been piloting the bus a bit erratically since departure, nearly hitting a car. When she lost consciousness, though, the lives of everyone on board were in danger. The pastor grabbed the wheel, maneuvered the bus to the shoulder, and waited for a replacement driver to show up.

In a statement, Megabus said that the driver is doing better, and that they plan to investigate the incident. Their statement gave the details of the incident, then expained:


The driver who took ill is doing well and will receive further checks from the doctor. Safety is our absolute priority and, as a matter of course, we are investigating the incident. We apologize to megabus.com passengers for the disruption to their trip.

Local Pastor Recounts Megabus Ordeal [KDKA] (via Fark)

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  1. nybiker says:

    Two tractor-trailers boxed-in the bus? Gee, I thought that just happened in the movies. Good thing there were 3 driving lanes. Or was the boxing done front and back? I see a Speed 3 movie out of this.
    No jokes about the hand of God helping out.

    • Laura Northrup says:

      The pastor seems to think that God made sure he was in the right place at the right time, but I wonder what the odds are that in any group of, say, 50 people, one holds a CDL.

      • nybiker says:

        Yes he does as I found out after I watched the video (after writing my comment). I don’t know about you Laura, but I don’t have a CDL.
        I am still amazed by the truckers’ actions. I guess having a CB does help (my guess is that it allowed them to coordinate movements and such).

        • kc2idf says:

          Truckers get a bad reputation sometimes, and in some ways it is deserved, but my experience is that when it comes down to safety and saving lives, most — note, not all — most are all business.

          In the interest of full disclosure, I should mention that I may be biased because my Dad used to be a truck driver. He still holds a CDL with both hazmat and passenger endorsements (meaning he is certified to drive everything from tank trucks to buses)

          • GearheadGeek says:

            Truckers have a bad reputation for pretty much the standard reason… no one notices the vast majority of professional drivers who don’t drive like schmucks. The few dipshits who shouldn’t have ANY driver’s license (much less a CDL and an 80,000-lb rig) are the ones people remember and kvetch about.

      • Joshincolorado says:

        Here’s the way I see that.
        1) You live the way Jesus instructed (stick to the New Testament not all the people through history up to the current crop of politicians running for office trying to co-op the Bible for their own ends).

        2) Put yourself out there in the world, like for instance being a Pastor and dedicating your life to God’s teachings,or volunteering to save puppies from mills, or just doing the right thing every day as best you can.

        3) You do the work of God just by being alive.

        The more people who live this way, the more it is as if God is among us. This is foolproof because it requires no actual God, just someone acting as if He exists. Rent Schindler’s List for good example of this. Read a biography of Mother Teresa. Or today, quick-thinking Pastor saves lives, Speed style, before going back to his day job of doing good. Just a thought.

  2. EP2012 says:

    So, tell me again why the driver was hired when they had a medical condition which could have resulted in the death of many people…

    • nybiker says:

      I get where you’re coming from, but I suspect they felt that since the driver’s medical issue was treatable, it was ok. As we have seen, there needs to be some sort of checks & balances to ensure that drivers who have to take medication take them. The next time Amtrak kicks me off the Vermonter in Springfield, Mass and has us taking a bus to Waterbury, I am going to be asking the drivers if they have taken any necessary medication.

    • Jane_Gage says:

      Because proving the existence of God in an a priori framework doesn’t cut it for most people nowadays.

    • GadgetsAlwaysFit says:

      There are several medical conditions that, if employment is withheld or terminated due to the medical condition, are protected under the Disability Act. Generally these conditions are incurable, chronic diseases.

    • madmallard says:

      i dunno what the answer to your question is. but if your solution is to never have such people in a position of operating anything, you better be prepared for the entire population of diabetics to be included in that filter… -_-

    • Difdi says:

      Because not hiring the driver would have been illegal?

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      Because the choices were that woman, or a troll. Sorry you didn’t get the job.

  3. Jen Ever says:

    Jesus took the wheel.

  4. Back to waiting, but I did get a cute dragon ear cuff says:

    To answer a couple of comments.

    The reason you need a CDL to drive a bus is the number of people in it, not so much the size. These buses may be over 26,000Lb GVW, in which case that is doubly CDLable. There are many RVs that are built on the same bus chassis that you do not need a CDL for.

    I am fairly certain that most of these buses are automatic. so to be able to drive one in an emergency like this, you need to know how to use a steering wheel, accelerator and brake pedals, transmission lever and hopefully mirrors. If it is not automatic, well, you have to know how to drive a stick.

    As far as medical conditions and CDLs. As long as it is easily treatable and a doctor sees that you are treating it, you are approved. Take glasses for example. I memorized the big E at the top of the chart. But with my glasses I can easily read the 20/20 line and I have great distance vision. Therefore, I would be approved.

    I hope that if I was in the same situation, I would not allow my lack of CDL to prevent me from doing whatever is necessary to bring the bus to a safe stop. Even if it was to only to tell everyone to hold on and slam the transmission into park (or reverse if a stick).

    I am NOT denigrating the courage of the person that did bring the bus to a stop, or the truckers risking their lives to help. I only hope that this lets anyone reading that know that if they are in the same situation, that they sould not let their lack of a legal permit to drive the bus stop them from trying to save the lives of the people on the bus.

    • jebarringer says:

      Was about to say something similar. Sure, having a CDL (or previous bus / RV driving experience) would definitely help, but as long as you can stay calm and gently slow and steer the bus, you should be fine.

    • ChuckECheese says:

      I agree, and in the same vein, people should not be afraid of giving advice to others merely because they don’t have a clinical social work license.

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        You sound depressed. I recommend some vicodin. Here, I’ll forge a prescription for you…

  5. Bender6829 says:

    Finally, some good news! Accolades to the truck drivers and to the man who piloted the bus to safety.

  6. HogwartsProfessor says:

    Yay!

  7. Judespeak says:

    That truck-drivin’ pastor is HAWT! He can grab my steering wheel anytime.

  8. HomerSimpson says:

    Clearly the Megabus’s fault because it couldn’t drive itself to safety.

  9. missminimonster says:

    Megabus seems to be having a lot of bad press lately. There were the two deaths, then the fire, a lawsuit…it’s good that this story turned out okay.

  10. BigHeadEd says:

    Nice to see a good outcome. Normally, any article that includes a pastor and a large vehicle in it usually has a headline along the lines of “15 killed returning from retreat in church van rollover”

  11. Nic715 says:

    There was a time when I would have considered taking a Megabus to visit family/friends in Boston and NYC…however, all these news stories lately have made me reconsider. I’m from Syracuse, where there was a fatal Megabus accident in September of 2010. The driver missed the exit for the bus station from the highway and followed his gps to find his way back. However, there’s an infamous low CSX railway bridge over the route his gps took him and he was so busy looking at the gps screen that he missed all the signs warning of the low bridge…all 12 of them… and hit it dead on. 4 people were killed.

    I realize that this sort of thing has the potential to happen on ANY companies buses…but it seems to me that there’s just been a ton of bad press about Megabus lately. Think they need to train their drivers more or look more into their driving history before hiring. Also, conduct better equipment safety tests more often.

  12. Runner says:

    You don’t need a CDL to steer a bus and apply the breaks. I’ve never had a CDL yet driven huge vehicles that are several times the size of a normal vehicle.

    God didn’t do anything. Quick thinking and actions of others kept this from being a huge accident.

  13. Press1forDialTone says:

    This is why the Airline Pilot’s Association drew the line at a pilot -and- a first officer/co-pilot
    on every flight. Even though many planes now can take off, fly and land without any human
    assistance, ASSUMING NOTHING INTERFERES WITH THIS PROCESS, like mechanical
    failure, weather, etc etc -or- one of the humans monitoring the systems passing out……
    When we cram 50+ people in a vehicle, doesn’t that mandate another person capable
    of monitoring the driver?? Or is is okay to kill 50 people and not 150 people?