Students Safe Thanks to Driver’s Quick Actions
Students Safe Thanks to Bus Driver’s Quick Actions
Posted on 05/04/2018
Driver Ed Garity, center, with Director of Operations Joe Vlach and Transportation Director Kattie Nepper.

A bus driver’s calm response to a harrowing accident kept students safe from harm Thursday evening.

“Ed Garity saved the lives of those kids on that bus,” said district Director of Operations Joe Vlach.

Garity, who has been a driver since 2016, knows many of the students at Central Kitsap Middle School from his regular routes. That’s why he was excited to drive one of three buses headed to a track meet on Bainbridge Island Thursday.

His bus was the third in a caravan as they traveled on Highway 305 near Suquamish. 

They were near Lemolo when a vehicle towing a boat turned left onto the highway toward Poulsbo, in front of the second bus. The second bus braked, narrowly avoiding the trailer. The boat and trailer swung off the road and into a light pole.

Garity saw the crash as his bus approached.

“The next thing I notice is that the light pole is starting to fall, and thought, ‘that’s not good,’” Garity said. The pole was falling across the highway and right into Garity’s lane.

Eyewitnesses said Garity calmly told his students, “Hang on,” as he veered the bus away from the pole and onto the shoulder. The pole was dragging guy wires with it, and Garity tried to avoid them too. Soon after, Garity was able to stop and secure the bus.

Garity told the students to remain seated, then he and coaches checked to make sure everyone was OK. No students were injured. The guide wire wrapped around bus’s mirror and broke it.

“All of our drivers are prepared for these kinds of scenarios,” Vlach said, “and Ed did some amazing driving.”

A replacement bus was called. Garity commended the students for being so good sitting on the hot bus until help arrived.

But his day wasn’t over yet. Garity wanted to finish the run.

“We are so fortunate to have exceptional staff like Ed, who was determined to continue on his drive,” Vlach said.

Garity said, “There was still plenty of track meet left. I was there to get the kids to a track meet, and I wanted to watch.”