Precious cargo” indeed.
Within the harrowing account of a U.S. Army trainee going AWOL from Fort Jackson, South Carolina, and hijacking a school bus full of children as young as kindergartners is the heroic bus driver’s recollection that his 18 young passengers played a very big role in everyone coming through the ordeal safely.
The driver, Kenneth Corbin, sat down for an interview with ABC’s “Good Morning America” Monday and explained how the May 6 incident all went down.
“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 “GMA.” “And at the end when they started questioning him, it seemed to have frustrated him because his main objective [was] to get to the next town; but in the end I think we were only on the road about four miles, and he just got frustrated with the questions and just told me to stop the bus and just get off: ‘All y’all get off.'”
The program noted that Jovan Collazo, 23, appeared to be trying to get home, according to police, and remains in custody facing two dozen charges, including 19 counts of kidnapping.
Corbin had just gone through training on how to handle a hostage situation and tried to no avail to dissuade Collazo from entering — but Corbin told “GMA” the hijacker pointed his government-issued rifle at him and ordered him to “close the door and move and drive.”
The hero driver added to “GMA” that the hijacker’s “main objective was to get to the next town” — but that about every 500 feet he would ask how much more they needed to travel. Corbin told the program that he informed Collazo they needed to drive another 15 to 20 miles to get the next town.
The hijacker also moved all the children scattered throughout the bus up front in one group so he could keep an eye on them — “and when he did that, especially some of my kindergarteners, they started asking him questions,” Corbin recalled to “GMA.”
He added to the program that the students asked Collazo if he was a soldier — to which he “hesitantly answered … ‘yes, I’m a soldier.'”
“They asked him, ‘Why are you doing this?’ And he never did have an answer for that one,” Corbin recounted to “GMA.” “Then they asked was he gonna hurt them; he said ‘no.’ They asked was he gonna hurt our bus driver; and he said, ‘No, I’m going to put you off the bus.’ He sensed more questions coming … I guess something clicked [in] his mind and said … ‘enough already,’ and he just told me to … ‘stop the bus right here, and just get off.'”
Then it was over. Collazo was arrested soon after.
Corbin told the program that for him “it was just a matter of just staying calm and following his instructions and thinking about the kids, because I didn’t want to do anything that would, you know, rile him to cause him to do something that would bring harm to my kids.”
The hero driver added to “GMA” that it was “so evident that they were precious cargo, and I pretty much just had to just do whatever, you know, to get them off the bus safe and sound.”
Corbin also noted to the program that “it seemed as if their goal to do the same by me, and that’s why I refer to them as my heroes.”
Author : Dave Urbanski