Mon BOE recognizes Good Samaritan school bus drivers

MORGANTOWN — Sometimes you don’t “think” —  you just act.

That’s how Rich Campbell put it during Tuesday night’s meeting of the Monongalia County Board of Education.

Campbell, a bus driver for the school system, was returning from Charleston in March, after traveling there with a group of colleagues who were protesting during the statewide work stoppage for teachers and other public employees.

The heavy rain had just started when the car in front of them hydroplaned.

“It rolled twice,” Campbell said. “We just stopped. Didn’t even think about it. We just knew they needed help.”

Leann Shriver, a nurse in Monongalia County Schools, directed the effort while Campbell and his fellow bus drivers, Dom Eagle, Greg Shriver, Justin Stern, Justin Stern and Chris Keyser tended to the three passengers in the wrecked car until the ambulances came.

The BOE recognized the good Samaritans Tuesday with certificates and glowing remarks.

“I’m proud of them,” said Jeff Meadows, the BOE’s transportation director.

Proud —  but not surprised.

“Our drivers are all certified in CPR,” he said.

“They’re always dealing with scrapped knees and bloody noses. They’re first responders for our kids every day.”

Eagle said was glad the car landed on its wheels:  “Thank God. They were easier to get to.”

All three women survived the crash, Campbell said. The most severely injured was a woman who was thrown through the sun roof. She’s still recovering after multiple surgeries.

Campbell said he glad he and friends were at that stretch of Interstate 79 at that time.

“We were just doing what we were supposed to do,” he said.

Campbell and this fellow drivers hauled steady numbers of passengers during the most recent school year, Assistant Superintendent Donna Talerico said.

The county closed the year with 11,741 students, including 855 kindergarteners.

While layoffs at Mylan Pharmaceuticals may effect enrollment, Devono expects growth across the county. “It’s conceivable that in two years we’ll be over 12,000 students,” he said.

The board will meet Friday to sign off on the $127 million budget for fiscal year 2018-’19.

It will mark the last meeting for President Barbara Parsons, board member Clarence Harvey Jr. and Devono, all of whom are retiring.

Devono’s replacement, outgoing Tucker County Schools head Eddie Campbell Jr., will be sworn  July 2, along with new board members Melanie Baker Rogers and Sara Anderson.

Rogers and Anderson won their seats in the May primary. Campbell was hired  this month.