A group of students at a Topsham school district steered a school bus away from disaster after its driver suffered a medical episode Monday morning, Topsham Police Chief Marc Hagan said.
It was later announced on Monday evening that the driver of the bus, 77-year-old Arthur McDougall of Lisbon, died, the Portland Press Herald reported.
MSAD 75 Interim Superintendent Robert Lucy told parents and staff in a Facebook post that the district will make counselors available Tuesday to support grieving students and staff, the newspaper reported.
The bus was carrying 14 middle school and high school students east on Route 201 at 7:30 a.m., when McDougall suffered a medical episode, Hagan said.
At least two students noticed the driver was incapacitated and sprung to action, steering the bus to the side of the road and stopping it, authorities said.
Once it stopped, a student began to provide first aid, while another called 911. Other students on the bus began to waive down passing traffic to notify them about the incident.
Topsham Police personnel performed CPR on McDougall and also used a defibrillator before they were relieved by Topsham Fire and Rescue personnel, who transported him to Mid Coast Hospital in Brunswick.
He was then life-flighted to Maine Medical Center in Portland.
Hagan praised the valor of the students as they took their peers out of harm’s way on the bus and did what they could to save the bus driver’s life.
“We are thankful to all who assisted and made a difference this morning,” Hagan said.
Multiple calls to the SAD 75 Superintendent’s Office were not answered on Monday afternoon.