Wednesday, October 16, 2013
While operating a school bus loaded with more than 40 students, one of the last things any driver wants is to smell smoke. But this is exactly what happened to Georgetown County School District bus driver Wilhelmina Addison recently.
On her afternoon run after school, the bus was in the left turn lane in Murrells Inlet at Wachesaw Road on Highway 17 Bypass when Addison realized there was a problem. Quickly after she smelled smoke heavy black smoke began pouring from the engine. Many students thought the bus was on fire.
Addison – in her 29th year as a school bus driver -- knew she was going to evacuate the bus, and as luck would have it, she saw a Georgetown County Sheriff’s Deputy also at the intersection. She motioned to Deputy Craig Smith, who immediately assisted by stopping traffic so Addison could safely and quickly get the children off the bus.
It turns out the heavy black smoke was not caused by a fire but other engine problems. The smoke was so dense that several people called and reported the vehicle was on fire. Once the students were safely away from the bus,
Addison called officials and soon the 42 students were picked up by another bus and taken home.
Because Addison followed district procedures and acted so decisively and quickly to protect her children, she was recognized with a “Hero Award” and a small model bus at the October 1 School Board meeting at the J.B. Beck Administration and Education Center.
Superintendent Dr. Randy Dozier said he was proud of the job Addison and the district’s bus drivers display on a daily basis. “I always tell people this is one of those jobs in which you have to be perfect. If you safely deliver 99 out of a hundred children, you’ve had a real bad day.
“The No. 1 thing is she took care of the kids. She is a hero in my book.”
— From Georgetown County School District