Wednesday, May 25th, 2022

They Are My Heroes Paulding Students Save Bus Drivers Life

They Are My Heroes Paulding Students Save Bus Drivers Life PAULDING COUNTY, GA — For the last two years, bus driver Julie Sargent-Williamson has been driving around the same group of Paulding County Schools students to and from school every single weekday. She knows them, loves them and calls them “her kids.”

So when she grabbed her keys for another normal day two weeks ago, she certainly didn’t expect what happened next.

Williamson picked up the last kid for the morning route to school and pulled out of the subdivision, when she suddenly felt extremely dizzy. A hot sensation washed over her body — one she said she’s never felt before in her life.


She pulled the bus over on the side of the road and told the kids,”Emergency now. Somebody needs to call in,” she told Patch.

That’s when Conner Doss and Kane Daugherty, both East Paulding Middle School seventh graders, knew something was wrong — and stepped up to help. Williamson said Daugherty ran up front, took the walkie talkie and radioed to the transportation dispatcher.

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“This is bus 306. My driver’s dizzy,” she heard him say.

After that, Williamson said she doesn’t remember much else, and could no longer speak.

The dispatcher was able to locate the bus using GPS and immediately called 911, then called Williamson’s phone, Paulding Schools officials said. Daugherty picked up the phone and told first responders key details of what was happening to Williamson.

“I was shaking uncontrollably. I wasn’t able to communicate. I couldn’t talk, even though I tried the best I could,” Williamson said.

Meanwhile, Doss was helping calm the other students on the bus, bringing all of them to the back and out of the way. But they weren’t just sitting there, scared and confused — a first responder told Williamson they were sitting together in a big circle, praying for her.

Students had also opened the bus windows and called out for help from passing drivers. Two strangers stopped to help, Williamson said: a man who broke the bus door open, and a woman in scrubs. She doesn’t know who they were, but she said she’s incredibly thankful for them and her kids.

“All the kids on the bus, they stepped up and I’m so proud of each and every one of them,” Williamson said, choking back tears. “They could have just fallen apart and not known what to have done, but they stayed calm, they rallied together and they saved my life. They are my heroes.”

Doctors believe Williamson suffered from a mini stroke, though it’s still not confirmed. She’s been wearing a heart monitor 24/7 since the incident, she said, and will have an electrical procedure on her heart in a few weeks.

There’s no telling when she’ll be back in the bus driver’s seat, but she does hope to get back in there soon. She misses her kids a lot, she said, and can’t thank them enough — especially Daugherty and Doss, who were both honored at a Paulding County Schools Board of Education meeting this week for their heroic actions.

“Some of the kids in the school were actually making fun of [Daugherty and Doss], because they were like, ‘Oh, how are you a hero? Because you made a phone call?’ It makes me so mad because these kids don’t realize I could have died,” Williamson said. “Without them stepping up and saying what they did, I don’t necessarily know if I’d be here today. They deserve the world.”

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