COLLIER COUNTY, Fla - An 11-year-old Collier County boy jumps into action to keep a school bus from crashing into a tree.
His heroic actions happened after his bus driver collapsed at the wheel.
Tuesday evening, Robert Kelly was driving the school bus along Weber Boulevard in Golden Gate. He was just a few blocks away from where 11-year-old Jackson Bonar lives when he collapsed from an apparent medical condition.
Jackson was the last one on the bus but thankfully he knew exactly what to do since he has been driving his family's four wheeler for years.
"I was panicking and then I did it," says Jackson Bonar. "I was looking for the break, but there were so many buttons. It's kind of like a plane, it's really hard to understand. I just put my foot over his and hit the break."
Jackson says the bus was heading straight for a tree, so he grabbed the wheel and steered into a fence.
"I figured if we both die, that's not a good situation, but if we can both live, that's a better one," says Jackson.
While Jackson is the first to say he doesn't feel like a hero, the man whose life he saved says otherwise.
"Once in a while you get an extraordinary one like him, wise beyond his years," says Robert Kelly.
Kelly is still recovering at Physicians Regional Medical Center on Pine Ridge. He tells WINK News the accident is a blur, but he's grateful Jackson's instincts kicked in.
Child Play Therapist Mary Armbruster says it was Jackson's presence of mind and working knowledge that allowed those instincts to kick in.
"Here's a kid that kept his head. He was knowledgeable, he worked on it and he responded immediately," says Armbruster.
Jackson's mother, Paula Bonar, says she's proud and relieved her son knew exactly what to do. "I'm so lucky he and the driver are both okay. It could have been a lot worse and we just keep telling him to get back on the bus."
Meanwhile Kelly is still waiting for tests to reveal what caused him to collapse. After he is feeling better he wants to reunite with Jackson so he can thank him face to face for what he did.