Quick action on the part of a school bus driver avoided a dangerous traffic accident on March 23.
Around 3:40 p.m., bus driver Kimberly Lincoln had come to a stop on Highway 40 just south of Bruce. She was ready to let schoolchildren disembark when she noticed a speeding car approaching from the rear. Despite the warning signals and stop signs on her bus, the car showed no signs of slowing down.
Lincoln reacted by slamming the bus doors shut just as students were about to leave. The speeding car passed the bus on the right, colliding with a mailbox and continuing down the road. Without Lincoln’s split-second intervention, two young children would have stepped off the bus directly into the path of the oncoming car. Bruce Schools Superintendent Joni Weinert said that Lincoln’s action prevented a “major catastrophe.”
Weinert went on to praise Lincoln, telling reporters, “She did a great job. She did everything she’s supposed to do.” Ms. Lincoln has been a bus driver for the Bruce School District since 1987.
A mother of one of the children in the bus witnessed the event. She pursued the speeding car so that she could get the license plate number and a description of the driver. She provided the information to police, who initiated a search extending from Rusk County to Chippewa County.
Officers from the Chippewa County Sheriff’s Department apprehended the car’s driver on a dead-end road on 224th Avenue near Bloomer. He had passed out in his 2001 Pontiac Sunfire about 28 miles south of the bus incident. He was arrested for drunken driving after refusing to take a test for intoxication. He was identified as Michael R. Malone, age 59, of Altoona.
Malone is being held in the Chippewa County Jail on a $3,000 cash bond. This is Malone’s 11th arrest for drunken driving. Malone also will be charged in Rusk County for felony endangerment.
The attorneys and staff at Hupy and Abraham salute Ms. Lincoln for her dedication to the safety of her young passengers. We can only shudder to think of the horrific pedestrian accident that could have occurred without her intervention.