Beaumont trustees honored district school bus driver Jody Jermeay for saving a toddler’s life while picking up students on her route on Jan. 14.
Jermeay, 53, of Banning, has been a school bus driver for Beaumont Unified for 20 years.
Jermeay was driving on her route around 9:30 a.m. in the Fairway Canyon area near Tournament Hills, getting ready to pick up a student in front of his house.
About four houses away, a neighbor was about to back out of her driveway while talking on her cell phone, said the district’s director of transportation, Robin Robison.
Jermeay explained what was happening. “I was picking my student up,” she said. “As I was going up the hill, I could see the front door was open and the toddler was running down the sidewalk.”
The toddler was running toward the car that was slowly backing out of the driveway, said Jermeay.
She began honking her horn to get the driver’s attention, to no avail. So Jermeay immediately pulled the bus across the driveway to block the car from pulling out.
Jermeay got out of the bus to try and get the child but the child’s older sibling, who Jermeay believes is high-school age, was steps ahead of her and was able to grab the little boy.
But it was a close call, said Jermeay.
“I got right behind her (the driver). He was right between the car and the bus,” said Jermeay.
She said things were happening so fast she didn’t even see the older sibling going to rescue his brother.
Jermeay said she didn’t talk with the driver because after the child was rescued and safe, she had to continue with her route.
She was able to get the toddler’s brother on the bus, which had no students.
Jermeay returned to the transportation yard around 10:30 a.m. and had already told the dispatcher, then some of her colleagues and eventually Robison.
“I calmed down a bit but I was uptight all day, nervous,” said Jermeay.
Trustees presented her with a certificate and Superintendent Maureen Latham thanked her for saving the child from a very dangerous situation.