Students' Instincts Kick In After Bus Driver Blacks Out

Updated: 12/19/2012 6:47 PM KSTP.com By: Amanda Theisen

When you see someone in trouble, your first instinct is often to race in and help. The instincts of a group of students from Oak-Land Junior High School in Lake Elmo proved to be all the difference for their school bus driver from Stillwater.

On December 11, school bus driver Duane Burmeister went to pick up nine 7th and 8th graders at Oak-Land for nordic ski team practice. The next thing he knew, he was waking up in a hospital bed.

Students say Burmeister blacked out behind the wheel as the bus started to roll across four lanes of Manning Avenue. One student, Rana Kraftson, saw Burmeister faint and screamed. She ran to the front of the bus, pulled the emergency brake and got on the bus radio to alert other drivers.

While some students stayed with Burmeister, others ran back into the school and alerted teachers to what happened. Ambulances soon arrived and rushed Burmeister to the hospital. He suffered a mild stroke and a broken arm. However, he is otherwise okay.

None of the students on board the bus was hurt. They credit their quick actions to instincts and bus safety training they go through at the start of every school year.

The Washington County Sheriff plans to nominate the students for a lifesaving award.