Students and their families are calling a semi-truck driver a hero after his quick thinking saved 23 lives. “I’m just really appreciative that my son made it home last night,” Melissa Bowles said while holding back tears. Melissa knew something was wrong when her son, Jaxon, arrived home half an hour later than usual Monday afternoon. “He was shaken a little bit, and looked a little pale and he came in and told me exactly what happened,” she said. The seventh grader rides the school bus everyday from Eisenhower Middle School, but this ride in particular was one he says he’ll never forget. “And then out of the corner of my eye I just saw it coming at me,” Jaxon said describing what could have been a tragic accident. According to Kansas Highway Patrol the driver of Jaxon’s bus, carrying 22 students, failed to yield to a semi on U.S. 24 just south of Marlatt Ave.

Semi Driver Delbert Henson hit the brakes and swerved into a ditch to avoid a crash, and now he is being called a hero. “Had the truck driver not swerved to miss that bus at the last second he would have taken out the back of that bus, and that’s where my child was sitting,” Melissa explained. The bus driver then pulled over in a safe area to calm the frightened students. “She was talking about how we didn’t need to go back since people were already going to attend the situation, and how dispatch was calling 911,” Jaxon remembered. Henson was taken to the hospital for his injuries, and the bus driver and students were not harmed. Jaxon said he and some of his friends were a little nervous about riding the bus Tuesday morning, but said he’s just thankful everyone walked away alive. “They were talking about it when I got on the bus this morning, and they were talking about how they were glad that they were alive because he swerved out of the way,” he said. His mother felt the same way. “They had some angles watching over them on that bus trip that day,” she added.

According to KHP a citation was issued for failure to yield. Melissa said she has since spoken with Henson to thank him again.

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