SUPER gran Sonia Broome today re-lived the dramatic moment she steered a runaway bus to safety after the driver was suddenly taken ill.
The quick-thinking 50-year-old, who was a passenger on the number three bus with her pregnant daughter and two-year-old grandson, leapt from her seat as the driver slumped forward and the vehicle veered dangerously towards pedestrians.
“The driver was in a really bad way,” she said. “He looked unconscious and I was frightened he would start choking.
“I could see somebody in the road and all I could think about was making sure nobody was run over.”
As reported in the Echo, paramedics and police dashed to John Street, in Sunderland city centre, after the Stagecoach bus crashed into a building.
Sonia, from Monkwearmouth, said it was approaching a stop when passengers noticed the driver appear to black out.
“People were getting up to get off when my daughter, who was in front of me, noticed the driver was sick,” said the grandmother of seven.
“She shouted ‘Someone is going to have to stop the bus’ and I rushed to grab the wheel and keep it on the road. I couldn’t open the door to the cab, but I managed to reach over and take the wheel.
“I turned it to the left and then back to the right, trying to straighten it up.”
Despite Sonia’s best efforts, the bus, which is understood to have had more than a dozen passengers on board at the time, left the road and hit a wall.
The driver was taken by ambulance to Sunderland Royal Hospital, but was later released.
None of the passengers on the bus, including Sonia’s daughter Gemma, 26, and grandson Kieron, were injured.
“Thankfully, everybody was OK,” she said. “The first thing I did was check the driver was all right.
“He was starting to come around and managed to turn the engine off. Everything is still a blur.
“There was a nurse who was passing by who came to help and I remember a blind man on board with his guide dog who I helped off the bus. It sounds stupid, but when it was over, all I could think about was that I hope I don’t get into trouble, because I don’t have a driving licence.”
Stagecoach bosses said they will conduct a “thorough investigation” to determine the cause of the crash on Monday.
Sonia added: “I still can’t believe what has happened. I was only going to the shops for a shower curtain.”
A spokesman for Stagecoach said: “Our immediate thoughts are for the welfare of those involved.
“We are very keen to talk to the member of the public who thankfully came to the aid of the driver as part of the investigation.
“Safety is our absolute priority. We are assisting police with their inquiries into this incident and will also carry out our own investigation.”