Kindergartners helped save their bus driver and classmates from an armed busjacking in Columbia, South Carolina. According to bus driver Kenneth Corbin, 23-year-old Jovan Collazo boarded the bus with an unloaded rifle. The bus was carrying 18 schoolchildren. Although the event was harrowing, the driver and children have walked away as heroes.
Luckily, none of the school children nor Corbin were injured in the terrifying event which lasted about six minutes. Collazo was an army recruit at Columbia’s Fort Jackson military base and was trying to escape to the next town which was 15 miles away, the Washington Post reported.
According to Corbin, the unsung heroes of the hijacking were the kindergartners who asked Collazo questions.
“The kids were the ones that actually got the gentleman off of the bus and they pretty much had my back as much as my concerns were with them,” Corbin told Good Morning America.
The children asked questions like, “Was he a soldier? Why was he doing this? And was he going to hurt them?”
The interrogation by the children frustrated Collazo so much that he ordered the driver, Corbin, to stop the bus six minutes after boarding, and told everyone to get off the bus. Corbin was able to safely escort all the kids off the bus.
“Seemed like he sensed more questions coming. … I guess something clicked [in] his mind and said ‘Enough, enough already,’” Corbin continued. “He just told me to stop the bus — ‘Stop the bus right here.’”
After the driver stopped the bus, Collazo was quickly apprehended and charged with kidnapping, armed robbery, carjacking, along with other offenses.
Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott noted the children’s role in achieving safety in a news conference, saying, “They were asking lots of questions” which seemed to frustrate the gunman.
Corbin has received well-deserved recognition for his handling of the scary event. A state resolution was introduced to commend Corbin for his heroism, and he was honored in a ceremony on May 14. But throughout it all, Corbin maintains that the students are his heroes.
“I pretty much just had to just do whatever to get them off the bus safe and sound.” Corbin said, “Seemed as if their goal [was] do the same by me,”