Bus passengers save the day

A Monday ride on a Nashua Transit bus proved to be anything but ordinary for Lizette Markham and seven other passengers.

As the bus rounded a turn on Burke Street Monday morning, Markham noticed the vehicle began drifting to the right. Before she and her fellow passengers knew it, the bus sideswiped a parked car – and began heading straight toward a fire hydrant without any signs of slowing down.

Realizing something was drastically wrong, Markham jumped to her feet. She headed toward the driver’s seat, only to find him in what appeared to be an unconscious and unresponsive state.

“I jumped out of my seat, went up and put my foot on the brake,” Markham said. “I was able to get (the bus) to stop, but I didn’t know how to turn it off.”

The bus came to rest partially on a sidewalk, with the sheared-off hydrant visible between the front wheel and the boarding steps. The bus appeared to have very slight damage to the front.

However, Markham and her fellow passengers were safe.

“It was a little crazy … I just wanted to do the right thing – to help us all,” she said. “I’m glad I’m safe. I’m glad the others are safe.”

Unfortunately, the driver died as a result of a medical emergency that took place while he was driving the bus.

The death of the driver, while tragic, could have led to a catastrophic accident for not only the passengers on the bus, but pedestrians or motorists in the out-of-control vehicle’s path. Only Markham’s quick and decisive action prevented this. We salute her for these heroic efforts.