School bus driver who rushed wounded teen to safety hailed as hero

Jacksonville driver's quick thinking might have saved student shot in chest

By Allyson Henning - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A Jacksonville school bus driver is being hailed as a hero Wednesday after she jumped into action and rushed a teen who'd been shot to safety.

Javon Mills, 17, was walking to his bus stop when he was shot in the chest by someone in a passing car. He managed to make it to the bus stop on Lane Avenue, and police said the driver made the split-second decision to drive Mills and the other students on the bus to a fire station about a mile away on Jammes Road.

Police said her quick thinking might have saved Mills' life.

Paramedics were able to rush Mills to a hospital, where he went into surgery and was last listed in critical condition.

The bus driver's name has not been released, but she works for Student Transportation of America -- one of three private bus companies that provide transportation for Duval County students. 

An STA spokesperson issued the following statement:

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the student and his family. Safety is our No. 1 priority at Student Transportation of America (STA), and our driver did a remarkable job this morning. She acted swiftly making a split-second decision focusing on the safety and well-being of the student and other passengers on the bus. We are very proud that she is part of the STA family and commend her for her heroic efforts.”

News4Jax asked each Duval County bus company about training for drivers in these types of emergency situations.

RELATED: Police use Taser on student on bus that transported wounded teen

According to STA's website, all drivers receive up-to-date, industry-leading training from the School Bus Safety Company.

Christopher Walls, president of School Bus Safety Company, told News4Jax that the training covers a variety of scenarios, but it’s hard to touch on every situation a driver could face from day to day.  

“We want our drivers to be thinking primarily of safety and security first. I believe that the driver did an excellent job this morning in what they did,” Walls said. “When you’re getting into those really severe situations like this, seconds matter, and this driver made a decision and didn’t delay.” 

A decision that many are saying helped the wounded teen get medical attention before it was too late.  

A Duval County Public Schools spokeswoman said bus operators are trained to notify dispatch in an emergency situation and to drive a bus to a safe location. 

“The school bus operator followed training and demonstrated outstanding judgment in handling this situation,” the district said in a statement.

Copyright 2018 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.