Saturday, February 24, 2007

Bus Driver Hero Caught on Video

Bus driver snatches tot from truck's pathChris Leslie's quick action when toddler walked into traffic captured on cameras.

Wes Johnson News-Leader City Utilities bus driver - VIDEO STORY

Chris Leslie hasn't lost any of his speed since setting a 100-meter dash record in junior high school.
Good thing.

Leslie, 38, leapt from his CU bus last week to save the life of a 3-year-old girl who wandered off the bus with a cheery "Bye!" and walked straight into traffic on busy Sunshine Street.
The bus' security cameras captured Leslie streaking out the door and running in front of the still-running vehicle to grab her.
"I jumped out as fast as I could and ran out in front and caught her," Leslie recalled, modestly. "Luckily, I caught her in time."
Bus cameras caught several views of the incident, and one shows a car making a rapid stop directly in front of Leslie and the girl.
"As I grabbed her, I looked as I pulled her back and luckily the car in the next lane, a pickup, had stopped," he said. "It was probably the first time in my life I was in the right place at the right time."
Leslie's wife, Cara, said she knew something unusual had happened when Chris came home from work that night and immediately grabbed their 2-year-old daughter, Hannah, and gave her a long hug.
"He was really scared by it all," she said. "It's amazing how quick something like this can happen."
Aboard the bus, the little girl's mother had her hands full with another child in a stroller and the 3-year-old walking in front.
The girl ignored Leslie's reminder to "wait for your mother" before hopping off and heading into traffic.
Once she was safely reunited with her mother, Leslie said, the two were still hugging at the bus stop before he pulled away.
He took a few minutes to "get his bearings" before departing the scene.
"My heart was about to pound out of my chest and my body temperature was about 10 degrees hotter," he said.
CU board members learned of Leslie's heroics at Thursday's board meeting.
CU general manager John Twitty played a CD of the event, choking with emotion as he described Leslie's save.
"It's pretty special," Twitty said. "He put his own life on the line."
New board member Mike Chiles said he hoped the video of Leslie's heroics got wide play in the media.
"It's a good example of good citizenship," he said. "It just shows that heroic actions can take place in a split second."
Leslie, an eight-year CU veteran, earned the utility's Driver of the Year award last year.
His boss, transit manager Carol Cruise, said the utility's rules won't allow him to win it two years in a row.
"But there's no reason he couldn't win it the year after that."