Total strangers jumped into action to help get kids off school bus following deadly I-79 crash

MUDDY CREEK TOWNSHIP, Pa. — We’re now hearing from total strangers who were a few cars behind the school bus on I-79 that collided with a tractor trailer Tuesday, killing a 14-year-old girl and the 31-year-old bus driver.

Husband and wife, Leslie and Eric Bohrer, jumped out of their car and sprinted to the school bus to try to help.

“There was smoke pouring out of the bus,” Bohrer tells Channel 11. “You could see the damage to the front of the bus. We were horrified.”

Eric climbed into the back of the bus through an emergency exit.

“There were two girls still in the bus and both of them were trapped,” Bohrer says. “They were conscious, talking, crying and scared.”

As Eric helped the girls call their parents, Leslie says she corralled 11 students who managed to escape onto the side of I-79.

“There were 1 or 2 kids who immediately said the bus driver is dead.”

>>>READ MORE: ‘I just hope it was fast’: Brother of student killed in I-79 bus crash says he knew she was killed

Their beloved bus driver, 31-year-old Lindsay Thompkins, was killed from the impact of the crash.

At the time, Bohrer said the kids didn’t know their 14-year-old friend, Brylee Walker didn’t survive either.

“We tried to keep that out of what they were thinking about,” Leslie said. “We had water and blankets. They really gathered together and helped and supported one another.”

Leslie tells Channel 11 that one of the students said right before the crash, the driver had slammed on the brakes.

“For a brief second, right before impact she said she felt him jam on the breaks and try to stop the bus,” Leslie said. “That was about all anyone knew.”

Bohrer said all she could think about was her 19-year-old daughter. She said the students showed remarkable courage and she wants their families to know that.

“My heart goes out to them,” Bohrer added. “It’s terrible, it’s tragic and they handled it as well as anyone could have. Especially for as young as they are.”