VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) - Many of the people who witnessed the accident on Holland Road Tuesday morning were just starting their day. But they found themselves rushing in to help instead of driving away.
“I could see the bus coming, but you look up and go on about your business,” said Joyce Calhoun. “Then I heard something. It was everybody's reaction, you hear the kids scream, you stop, get out the car and run and see if everyone's ok.”
A 27-year-old Navy man was killed in the crash at South Independence Boulevard and Holland Road. According to Virginia Beach Police, the man who died, Christian Montes, was the driver of the vehicle hit by the bus. He was outside his vehicle when he was struck by the bus.
Calhoun says an off-duty sheriff's deputy immediately began directing bystanders to help and went to Montes' side as she ran to help get the students off the burning bus. That Deputy, Mickey Murray, spoke exclusively to 10 On Your Side's Anita Blanton Wednesday.
"I got off from work and headed home, decided to stop at WAWA to get a drink, and as I was coming out, I heard a loud crash," said Murray. "I saw the bus was on top of the car and the car was on fire. If you're doing your job the way you should do it, you're never off duty. You help when you can, so I do."
According to Jennifer McCarrel with Virginia Beach Public Schools, 35 students were on the bus at the time of the crash. 24 of those students were transported to Bayside High School on a replacement bus with an assistant principal. Other students were taken to two nearby hospitals with minor injuries.
Calhoun says as she was headed toward the bus, suddenly, another man came out of nowhere to help put out the flames.
“I'm just an insurance agent,” said Jason Magruder. “I’m not looking to be a hero or watch what happened in front of me this morning.”
Magruder says he saw the car catch fire inches away from the bus' engine. He ran on board the bus, found a fire extinguisher and went to work. He says he has a new respect for what first responders experience everyday and just wishes he could have done more.
“It’s just state of shock you feel like you’re in a movie,” said Magruder. “It’s just not anything I could describe, to prepare yourself for it, but I can tell you it’s something you never want to see in your life.”
The cause of the crash remains under investigation at this time, although police confirm speed was not a factor. The Commonwealth's Attorney's Office and investigators will determine whether or not charges will be filed.
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