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A Wisconsin eighth-grade student takes the wheel of his school bus after the driver loses consciousness –

By Kaila Nichols, CNN

(CNN) — It was a normal end to the school day in late April for Acie Holland III, an eighth-grade student at Glen Hills Middle School in Glendale, Wisconsin.

He followed his routine and boarded the school bus to go home. The bus driver joked with students, Holland said, before putting on her headphones.

Then things took a sudden turn.

From his seat past the middle of the bus, Holland said the bus driver looked a little sick or tired and her head dropped. He knew something was wrong when she kept accelerating and missed a street.

“She turned the corner and there’s another street we normally go down. She hit the gas and turned the corner, and I looked up,” Holland told CNN.

He walked to the front of the bus to check on her, but she was unresponsive, he said. She temporarily lost consciousness and the bus crashed into oncoming traffic. Holland hurried to take her foot off the accelerator. He said he braked and parked the bus safely.

“I wasn’t really scared, I was just trying to get the bus to stop,” he said.

After stopping the bus, Holland contacted 911 and his grandmother, a nursing assistant. He also instructed the other 13 to 15 students on board to call their families.

“Everyone was like, ‘Thank you’ because I saved their lives,” said Holland, who hopes to one day own a barber shop or a mechanic shop.

Glen Hills Middle School Principal Anna Young wrote in a note to families that “the community could not be more proud of Acie.”

“The compassion and leadership we see him exhibit every day was taken to the next level yesterday during his bus ride home. We are grateful that all of our Glen Hills students are safe and wish their driver a healthy recovery,” she continued.

Eventually, the driver regained consciousness and called the bus company Riteway, which sent another driver to take the students home safely.

According to the school principal, the driver suffered a medical emergency and received care.

The parents of the Netherlands are incredibly proud and relieved.

Initially, Holland’s father, Acie Holland II, did not believe him when he heard the story later that day.

“Dad, I saved the school bus from crashing,” he told him. Ultimately, the story didn’t surprise him.

“He has always been someone who is very quick on his feet. That’s one of my things that I know he’s capable of, not on the school bus, but just in general, being able to help someone in need,” Holland’s father told CNN. “But I’m proud of what he did.”

The small, close-knit community has continued to show pride since the incident. During a school board meeting earlier this week, Holland was recognized by a proclamation from the mayor and city council. The Glendale Police Department and Milwaukee Fire Department also praised his heroics.

The Netherlands had some previous experience with vehicles. Since he was little, he has worked with his father, a certified automotive technician.

“It was like he was in the right place at the right time. So it was, it was intended for several reasons, the most important of which was the safety of others,” Young said.

Holland appreciates all the recognition he receives. He says he’s just glad he was able to get everyone home safely. He says the experience has given him more confidence.

“I feel more confident when I’m in a fight or flight moment,” he said.

The CNN Wire
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