Lee Simmons says he didn't even think before jumping into action. He came across the bus that went off the road, down an embankment and overturned after colliding with a truck on NC 68 Tuesday.
"Once I got down there you could hear the kids. They were terribly upset. Crying. Screaming. I want my mom I want my dad," said Simmons.
Seventeen kids were aboard a school bus in Rockingham County. Investigators say a truck traveling the opposite direction crossed the center line of NC 68 and hit the bus head on.
The truck landed on the road. The bus went off the road, down an embankment and overturned.
Simmons got there seconds after it happened.
"First what I did, I went to the emergency exit on the back of the bus. The bus was more or less upside down," he said.
North Carolina State Highway Patrol provided audio calls between agencies about the crash.
"The bus is off the roadway, overturned. 8 children with lacerations. We got several different ambulances in route," a person on the recording is heard saying.
Simmons says he sat on the side of the road with some of the kids to try and comfort them.
"I sat down with her on the ground and patted her on the back and tried to let her know that it was gonna be OK," he said.
Simmons says he's just grateful first responders showed up within minutes.
"Those guys are really the heroes. I was just there adding a couple hands. I didn't do much of anything," he said.
The driver of the bus was identified as Makawi Abdelgadir, 59, of Guilford County. The driver of the truck was Harvey Newcomb, 58, of Rockingham County.
Police say no charges has been filed at this time, but the investigation is ongoing to find out what caused the crash. The bus was being operated by First Student. It was taking kids to the Operation Xcel site in Stokesdale. Operation Xcel is an after school day care.
Operation Xcel released a statement Wednesday saying they're thankful the kids weren't seriously injured.
They'll also be providing counseling for anyone who needs it.