VIDEO: Yellow Medicine deputy blocks runaway bus, off duty firefighter jumps in to put bus in park

Updated: July 19, 2019 05:43 AM

A group effort stopped a runaway school bus in Granite Falls Wednesday.


According to a news release, the Yellow Medicine County Sheriff's Office received multiple 911 calls starting at roughly noon on Wednesday reporting a Renville County West School District school bus that was traveling the wrong way on Highway 212.

Witnesses reported watching the bus hit several cars on the highway near stoplights in Granite Falls and continue to travel westbound.

Yellow Medicine County deputies and Granite Falls police responded to the area and found the bus traveling on the highway near County Road 5. The bus driver failed to stop for officers and authorities said they believed the driver was suffering a medical emergency.

Yellow Medicine Chief Deputy Wayne DeBlieck trailed the school bus and recorded everything that happened on his squad's dash cam. 

Deputy Eric Diekmann was able to get in front of the bus to warn oncoming traffic while attempting to stop it. He noticed right away the driver wasn't responsive.

"At that point, when I first looked in the mirror I guess it was kind of unnerving knowing when my first attempt to slow down, hoping he would pace me, that there was no change in his speed," said Diekmann. "So it wasn't going to possibly be a quickly resolved incident."

Diekmann used rear bumper of his squad to perform a rolling road block and slow the bus down.

"You know, when it was all going on, I guess the biggest thing was making sure that it ended well," said Diekmann. "Unfortunately, it got to the point of using the squad car to make it come to a stop. It seemed like we were going to approach a dangerous situation where other lives could possibly be put into the mix."

Fortunately, off-duty Granite Falls Firefighter Greg Meyer was approaching the slowing bus and saw what was going on. He jumped out of his own vehicle, got into the moving bus and placed it in park.

Diekmann said it wasn't your average day.

"The worst case scenario is always running through your head when you have incidents going on, no matter what we deal with in this career. It was very nice to see it end this way," Diekmann said. "It might not have been the most by the book thing, but it seemed at that time the only way to resolve the situation. And it was a nice feeling once the vehicle was finally stopped and we were able to get some aide rendered to the driver."

The bus driver was transported to the Granite Falls Hospital and was later released.

Authorities said no one else was hurt during the incident.

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Rebecca Omastiak

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