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Cops Praise Teen Heroes After School Bus Crash

Sept. 8, 2008 — Two St. Croix teenagers will be honored with a new citizen's award for valor for keeping their heads during a school bus accident Friday on St. Croix and helping their fellow passengers escape the burning bus.
According to a release from the V.I. Police Department, the accident occurred at about 4 p.m. Friday on Canaan Road, a steep, twisting mid-island road that connects Mon Bijou with La Valle. According to the department’s St. Croix traffic Investigation Unit, the bus’s 44-year-old driver was traveling downhill on the steep mid-island road when she lost control of the bus. The bus overturned and caught fire.
In addition to the driver, the bus was occupied by a 56-year-old adult female and nine students aged 8 to 15.
Police credited two male students, 15 and 14 years old, with getting all the passengers and the driver out of the burning bus safely.
"They actually had to break out the window by the driver," said police spokeswoman Melody Rames. "They broke several windows on the bus and got everyone out."
The bus occupants were taken by ambulance to Gov. Juan F. Luis Hospital where they were treated for non-life threatening injuries and released.
The police have not released the names of the two teens because the department has not yet contacted their parents.
Commissioner James H. McCall said Monday, "I commend these young men who, with no regard to their own safety, risked their lives to assist others."
McCall said the student’s family would be contacted and arrangements would be made for a public commendation.
According to Rames, the department will create a new "citizen’s valor" award and the two young men will be its first recipients.
Police are continuing the investigation of the accident, Rames said, and some conclusions about the cause are likely in the next few days.
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