A driver whose school bus was hijacked earlier in May told Good Morning America on Monday that the students onboard asked so many questions that the suspect became frustrated and let them all off of the vehicle.
Kenneth Corbin, a bus driver for Forest Lake Elementary School in Columbia, South Carolina, said that the students were his heroes. They remained calm when 23-year-old Jovan Collazo, an armed army trainee, hijacked the bus in early May, according to Good Morning America.
“The kids were the ones that actually got the gentleman off of the bus and they pretty much had my back as much as my concerns were with them,” Corbin said, according to Good Morning America. He says that once the children started asking the man questions, he appeared to become frustrated.
“At the end when they started questioning him, it seemed to have frustrated him because his main objective were to get to the next town, but I think we were only on the road about four miles and he just got frustrated with the questions and just told me to stop the bus and just get off,” Corbin said.
Police detained Collazo, a Fort Jackson army recruit, after the incident. Officials said Collazo allegedly got onto a school bus and told the bus driver that, “he didn’t want to hurt him, but he wanted him to drive him to the next town,” Leon Lott, the sheriff of Richland County, said. (RELATED: Army Trainee Arrested After Hijacking Bus Full Of 18 Kids, Police Say)
After the suspect got on the bus, he realized there were students scattered throughout the seats. The suspect moved all of the students up to the front of the bus so he could keep an eye on them, and that’s when some of the kindergarteners started asking questions, Corbin stated.
“They asked him, ‘why are you doing this?’ He never did have an answer for this one,” Corbin said, according to Good Morning America. “They asked, was he going to hurt them? He said ‘no.’ They asked, ‘are you going to hurt our bus driver?’ He said, ‘no. I’m going to put you off the bus.'”
“He sensed more questions coming and I guess something clicked in his mind and he said, ‘enough is enough already,’ and he told me to ‘stop the bus, and just get off,'” Corbin added.
Corbin said the suspect’s “main objective was to get to the next town,” and was repeatedly asking the bus driver how far they were from another town. The next town was roughly 20 miles away, Corbin told the suspect. They only made it four miles before Corbin says the students frustrated the suspect.
Collazo allegedly let everyone off the bus before being arrested shortly after.
Corbin, who is trained in handling hostage situations, was commended by Richland County’s sheriff for remaining calm and keeping the children on board safe. Corbin told Good Morning America that he had to do whatever “to get them off the bus safe and sound.”
“It seemed like they were going to do the same thing by me, and that’s why I refer to them as my heroes,” Corbin said.