A South Carolina bus driver says inquisitive children helped prevent a potentially deadly situation.
On the morning of May 6, Kenneth Corbin was driving 18 students to Forest Lake Elementary in Richland, when a gunman entered the bus and demanded him to drive to the next town. Corbin said he followed the man’s orders and continued to drive for about six minutes until the gunman allowed him and the children to exit the bus. Why did he decide to do this? Well, Corbin credits the students’ relentless questioning.
“The kids were the ones that actually got the gentleman off of the bus and they pretty much had my back as much as my concerns were with them,” Corbin told Good Morning America on Monday. “At the end when they started questioning him, it seemed to have frustrated him because his main objective were to get to the next town, but I think we were only on the road about four miles and he just got frustrated with the questions and just told me to stop the bus and get off. All y’all get off now.”
Corbin said the hijacker, who has since been identified as 23-year-old Army trainee Jovan Collazo, had demanded the students to come to the front of the bus “so he could keep [them] all in close proximity.” Moments later, the young children began bombarding the suspect with questions, so much so that he ultimately became frustrated.
“They asked him, ‘why are you doing this?’ He never did have an answer for this one,” Corbin recalled. “They asked, was he going to hurt them? He said ‘no.’ They asked, ‘are you going to hurt our bus driver?’ He said, ‘no. I’m going to put you off the bus.’ He sensed more questions coming and I guess something clicked in his mind and he said, ‘enough is enough already,’ and he told me to ‘stop the bus, and just get off.’”
Corbin said they had only traveled about 4 miles before he and the children were set free.
Officer say they believe Collazo, who was in his third week of training at Fort Jackson, was attempting to get to his home in New Jersey when he hijacked the bus. He was arrested shortly after the incident and slapped with two dozen charges including 19 counts of kidnapping. Collazo remains in custody.
“It was so evident that [the students] were precious cargo and I pretty much just had to just do whatever – to get them off the bus safe and sound,” Corbin told GMA. “It seemed like they were going to do the same thing by me, and that’s why I refer to them as my heroes.”