NSW girl Isabelle Miller grabbed steering wheel of Casino high school bus as it crossed road and headed towards cars refuelling at mini mart
A 14-year-old has been hailed a hero after her quick thinking stopped a runaway school bus from crashing into a petrol station in northern New South Wales.
The Casino high school bus was parked outside the school last Wednesday when it started rolling forwards with no driver at the wheel.
Isabelle Miller, who had only boarded the bus in order to chat to friends, ran to the front of the vehicle and grabbed the steering wheel as it crossed a road and headed directly towards cars refuelling at North Casino Mini Mart.
“The brake went, I assume, and it started rolling and, as it’s a slight hill, it picked up speed,” said Faith Pittman, an employee at the petrol station and a former Casino high school student. “But the young girl has run up to the front of the bus and put on the brake and snapped the wheel the other way.”
Miller was able to steer the bus to the side of the main refuelling area, where it came to a jerky rest. CCTV footage of the incident shows customers and an attendant standing in the path of the runaway coach before Miller seized the wheel.
Speaking with the Nine’s Today show, the year 9 student said that “everyone was freaking out” at the time.
“No one was doing anything to stop the bus, so I ran up the front of the bus and steered it away from getting hit,” she said.
“It was pretty scary to think that, if I didn’t do anything, something bad could have happened.”
She said she had driven a car once in a paddock but had no other driving experience.
Pittman said a teacher had attempted to push the bus away from danger but it was the actions of Miller that averted disaster.
“If it had hit the pump, it would have blown the whole place up,” she said. “As you can imagine, it definitely could have been a disaster.
The bus driver was believed to have been talking to a teacher at the time. He ran after the bus as it rolled away, she said.
Miller’s efforts earned her a certificate of appreciation from the service station along with a gift of $100. The mini mart manager, Erin Witton, thanked Miller for her “selfless and quick thinking” and “act of courage and bravery”.
“[If] she hadn’t done what she did, [last] Wednesday afternoon could’ve ended catastrophically,” she wrote in a social media post.
“All the team at North Casino Mini Mart are in debt and just super thankful for this beautiful young lady.”
She said she was appealing to local MP, Kevin Hogan, to give Miller a bravery award.
The Casino high school principal, Trent Graham, and the Richmond Valley mayor, Robert Mustow, have also praised the teenager for her actions, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.
NSW police confirmed it was investigating the incident.
Extracted in full from: https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2023/nov/29/casino-high-school-bus-crash-runaway-nsw-australia-girl-isabelle-miller-grabs-wheel-petrol-station-near-miss