An Elkhorn, Wis., motorcoach driver recently saved the lives of 26 people, rescuing them from his burning bus.
David McElreath, 65, was transporting passengers from Elkhorn to Mississippi when the bus was struck from behind by a semitrailer truck. Upon impact, the rear of the bus caught fire, and McElreath responded. Using techniques he had learned in a mandatory safety training course, he evacuated most passengers through broken windows, while others were led to safety through the front door of the bus, which McElreath pried open with a fire ax.
Twenty-two passengers were treated at the nearby Missouri Delta Medical Center for minor injuries incurred in the crash. All were later released.
Scott and Eric Jones, co-owners of Jones Travel & Tour in Elkhorn and the owners of the bus McElreath was driving, had never experienced such a serious crash in the history of the 32-year-old family business.
“McElreath is to be commended for his heroic efforts,” Scott said. Future efforts will be made to continue to train drivers to react similarly in those types of emergencies, he said. “Our safety program will continue as usual in order to be completely prepared in case there are any future emergency situations,” he said.
McElreath has been driving professionally for about 30 years, is semi-retired and had only been driving for Jones Travel & Tour for about six months at the time of the crash.