Salt Lake City • A Greyhound bus passenger got behind the wheel and steered the bus to safety after the driver began passing out on a Utah highway Friday morning, police said.
Everette Elliott, 49, took over as the driver suffered a medical problem on Interstate 15 south of Salt Lake City, the Utah Highway Patrol said.
He brought the bus to a stop along the side of the highway. About 20 people were on board and no one was seriously hurt. The bus driver, a 30-year-old man, was taken to a hospital. Police don't believe he was impaired, said Trooper Colton Freckleton.
Elliott, who recently moved from Las Vegas to Salt Lake City for his work remodeling Walmart stores, told The Associated Press he was asleep as he rode the bus home from visiting his children in Nevada when he felt the vehicle swaying.
He opened his eyes and heard other passengers trying to talk to the driver, but he wasn’t responding.
“He was going from side to side ... it was like in a video game,” Elliott said. He walked up and tried to help, but as he did the bus drifted into a stone wall along the median of the highway, narrowly missing a stopped highway patrol car.
The impact with the wall sent the bus back onto the highway. That’s when Elliott grabbed the wheel.
The other passengers screamed for him to turn off the engine, but he couldn’t find a key, Elliott said. Finally he located a knob and managed to cut the engine as he guided the bus back into the median.
“My adrenaline was pumping. It’s just now starting to slow down,” he said. Greyhound sent a relief bus to take the passengers the rest of the way to Salt Lake City, said company spokeswoman Crystal Booker.
Fast thinking and courageous actions by Elliott and other passengers likely saved lives, Freckleton said.
“That’s what’s making me feel better ... thinking about my family, my well-being and that I helped other people,” Elliott said.