School bus driver urges caution after car disregards stop arm

Greenville County School Bus Driver Marilyn Masters

GREENVILLE COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA-TV) – An Upstate school bus driver is being called a hero.

The Greenville County School District released a video showing a car speeding past a school bus while students were trying to cross the street Wednesday.

Marilyn Masters has been taking kids to school for over 2 decades.

“When I was having my children, I thought well I’m going to take them back and out to school anyhow so I’ll just keep driving and just pick up a few more,” she said. “I just love it and I love the students.”

When transporting those children, she says their safety is her main priority.

“Our students are precious cargo.”

She says the relationship with her students helped protect them when a car careened pass the stopped bus.

“I stopped and I’m holding my students,” she said. “That means you have them in one spot so you can keep an eye on them.”

Holding her hand out warned the three students to stay in place. Video shows one car kept going after masters activated the stop arm.

“The third student was just walking up and I started to look back up to make sure the traffic had stopped. I saw the front had stopped and there was this gold flash that came around the side of the bus and it was moving,” she said.

It happened on Highway 418 near the Jenkins Bridge Road intersection around 7:40 a.m. as Masters was taking students to Woodmont High School.

“It [the car] kinda came around the front like this and I didn’t know if it would go that way to them [students],” she said. “It’s not just having my hand up. It’s having those students obey that hand signal.”

The students are okay but Masters says she’s no stranger to stop arm violators.

“For me, it can be anywhere from 7 to 10 times per month,” she said.

District leaders say it’s a serious issue.

“Our hearts sank because we were seconds away from tragedy this morning. Thanks to our bus driver. She was a true hero,” said District Routing Coordinator David Poag.

Masters says she was just doing her job and taking care of her students.

“Is it that important where you’re going that you would risk injuring or killing a student?” she said. “Fortunately, it wasn’t something worse and I hope it doesn’t have to be a worse situation before people take notice and heed to warning to pay attention.”

District leaders say they were not able to see the license plate number of the vehicle from that video.

Highway Patrol is investigating.

District leaders said they are always looking for more drivers like Marilyn Masters, as the district continues dealing with a bus driver shortage. You can find information about applying by calling (864) 355-1289 or visiting the district’s website.

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