BUFFALO — UTU-member and Buffalo school bus driver Yolanda Luciano (Local 1908) is being hailed as a hero — likely saving the lives of one or more of the eight elementary-school students aboard her First Student bus by engaging in a split-second emergency defensive driving maneuver on a snowy street the afternoon of Dec. 8.
An automobile, its driver allegedly fleeing police — and perhaps traveling 100 mph before the crash, according to Buffalo television news reports — appeared in Luciano’s windshield, coming directly at her bus.
Luciano abruptly steered the bus from a direct head-on impact with the blue Chevrolet Impala, but it was still a head-on crash.
“Everything went up in smoke and flames, just horrible,” an eyewitness told WGRZ television news. Luciano helped evacuate the children from the bus.
“She really handled the situation well,” said General Chairperson Dale McClain. “She saved lives.”
Only one student — a six-year-old — was injured seriously enough to be hospitalized with non life-threatening injuries. The driver of the auto also was hospitalized with unspecified injuries.
UTU Local 1908 represents some 600 First Student drivers and mechanics in Buffalo.