DARTMOUTH, Mass. (WPRI) — It was a chaotic scene Tuesday morning after a deer crashed through the windshield of a Dartmouth school bus.
Detective Kyle Costa says just after 7 a.m. in the area of 494 Chase Road, a car hit the deer – launching it toward the bus and through the windshield.
“Obviously, with anything like that, it’s a traumatic event for the children and the bus driver,” Costa said. “It’s incredible he was able to maintain control of that bus.”
Zachary Lake, 13, was one of the students on the bus. He said the deer flew through the windshield, sending glass everywhere.
“The deer just went flying through the windshield,” Lake recalled. “I had my backpack on my lap so I didn’t go flying forward. But, there was tons and tons of glass in my bag and in my hood and my hair.”
The deer landed in the lap of the bus driver, Mark Jardin, who has been with Tremblay’s Bus Company since 2014.
“It just flew into the air, the antlers were coming straight toward my windshield,” Jardin recalled. “It came straight through my windshield and straight into my lap.”
Jardin said he was able to safely stop the bus and help the students to safety.
“I was wrestling with the deer, trying to secure the bus, trying to make sure the kids were okay,” Jardin recalled.
“It was fortunate enough, where it happened, there was a driveway – there was enough room for the kids to all get there and all be accounted for,” Jardin added. “I was bleeding, the kids were more concerned because I didn’t even realize it.”
Jardin said he suffered fractures to his hand that will require surgery to repair. He’s thankful that he survived the deer’s impact.
“It just got onto my arms – it missed my throat and it missed my chest,” Jardin said.
Jardin, along with four students, were transported to St. Luke’s Hospital in New Bedford. The students all suffered minor injuries.
Tremblay’s Bus Company issued a statement following the crash, hailing Jardin a hero for putting the children’s safety before his own.
“Tremblay’s Bus Company is proud of Mark’s quick thinking and concern for the safety and wellbeing of the children on the bus,” Tremblay’s Bus Company said in a statement.
Lake’s mother credited Jardin for staying calm and keeping the kids safe.
“Mark is amazing,” Gillian Lake said. “He was just calm and telling the kids to get out of the bus. I wouldn’t have even parked so neatly on the side of the road. I would have crashed with a deer coming at my face.”
The bus was transported to Tremblay’s Bus Company’s bus yard in New Bedford, where the deer will be removed.
Costa said the Dartmouth Police Department’s traffic division is investigating the crash.