By Sgt. 1st Class. Whitney HughesJanuary 19, 2017
HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- When Capt. David Wilson, a Massachusetts National Guardsman from Charlton, Mass., saw the partially overturned school bus off I-95 he couldn't have known that there were 22 children and two adults on board, he just knew that people could be hurt.
"He definitely put himself in danger by going on to the bus," said Massachusetts State Trooper James Ackerly, who came on the scene in Waltham, Mass. January 11, after Wilson assisted the children and adults on the bus out of the rear emergency exit. "Without regard for his own safety, (he) then entered the unstable bus and conducted a full sweep to ensure no one was left behind."
When Wilson was driving behind the bus he didn't see the accident, but he also didn't see any first responders, so he immediately pulled over behind the bus to help. He joined a number of other motorists in helping the children and adults out of the rear of the bus. Ten of the children were later taken to Boston's Children's Hospital with minor injuries.
"Some of them were pretty emotional coming off of the bus," said Wilson. "I was just telling them they were doing great. They were being great for what they were going through."
However, he still wanted to be sure that no other people were trapped in the vehicle.
"It was at enough of an angle that it was disorienting and challenging climbing over the seats," said Wilson. Once the bus was cleared he waited to give his statement to Ackerly and then drove home. "I didn't think of it as too big of a deal, it's just something you see and you stop and help."
Ackerly disagreed with his humble account.
"Seeing his image come on the bus was touching," said Ackerly, recounting watching a video they reviewed later. "It was exemplary, outstanding, he was a big help to everyone there."
Wilson has served in the military for 19 years and is operations officer with the 126th Brigade Support Battalion, 26th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, Massachusetts Army National Guard.