An Army recruit in South Carolina hijacked a school bus and created a scary episode for the bus driver and 18 children on board—but eventually fled the bus, chased off by those children’s many questions during their short time together.
On Monday’s Good Morning America, bus driver Kenneth Corbin shared his experience of being hijacked and how kindergarteners in particular were key in thwarting the hijacker.
Jovan Collazo, the 23-year-old trainee from New Jersey in his third week at Fort Jackson, appeared to be using the hijacked bus to get home.
In the May 6 incident, he entered the bus with a rifle, pointed it at Corbin, and demanded Corbin drive him to the next town. Collazo also demanded that the kids, scattered throughout the bus, group together at the front of the bus. Once he did that, the kids started asking questions.
The students, according to Corbin, asked if the man was a soldier to which he “hesitantly answered — ‘yes.'”
“They asked him, ‘Why are you doing this?’ He never did have an answer for this one,” Corbin said. “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,'” Corbin recalled.
But those answers alone didn’t satisfy the kids.
“He sensed more questions coming and I guess something clicked in his mind and he said, ‘Enough is enough already.'”
Corbin said Collazo, who he estimated was on the bus for about six minutes, then exited. Collazo was apprehended shortly after. According to the Washington Post, Collazo was “charged with kidnapping, armed robbery, carjacking and other offenses, authorities said. Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott acknowledged the curious children’s possible role in a news conference earlier this month, saying, ‘They were asking lots of questions’ that seemed to frustrate the gunman.”
Though Corbin has been lauded as a hero, he downplays his role in the incident.
“It was just a matter of staying calm and following his instructions and thinking about the kids, because I didn’t want to do anything that would, you know, rile him to cause him to do something that would bring harm to the kids.”
Corbin thinks there are 18 other people who deserve credit for things going the way they did.
“It was so evident that they were precious cargo and I pretty much just had to just do whatever—to get them off the bus safe and sound,” he asserted. “It seemed like they were going to do the same thing by me, and that’s why I refer to them as my heroes.”
Watch the full video:
Lead image: Screenshot/GMA