▶ Watch Video: Seventh grader who took wheel of school bus after driver lost consciousness called “hero”

It was the end of the day for students at Lois E. Carter Middle School in Warren, Michigan. But for the students on Bus 46, that April afternoon was the beginning of an unforgettable ordeal. 

It all started on April 26 when the brakes slammed. Students told CBS News that they were “terrified and shocked” by the sudden motion. Then, they looked up and saw what was going on. 

The bus driver was unconscious — and seventh grader Dillon Reeves had grabbed the steering wheel. 

Security footage showed that Dillon had noticed the driver having a medical emergency, causing the bus to swerve. The boy immediately sprang from his seat, took the wheel, and hit the brakes, gaining control of the situation and saving the driver and his passengers. 

Dillon Reeves rescuing his school bus driver in Warren, Michigan. April 26, 2023. 

Steve Hartman / On The Road

“I just knew what to do in that moment,” Dillon said. “The bus was swerving off the road.”

When police arrived on the scene they called Dillon’s parents, who were a little alarmed to be getting a call from law enforcement. 

“‘Are you the parent of Dillon Reeves?'” Steve Reeves recalled the police asking him. “And I said, ‘Yes.’ And I go ‘What’d he do?’ And he goes ‘No, this is a good phone call. Your son is a hero. He stopped the bus.'” 

One student who had been on the bus credited Dillon with saving the “entire bus” with his “quick actions and thinking,” and by “being brave.” 

Warren Consolidated Schools said in a news release that paramedics responded quickly and treated the driver. The students were placed on another school bus and transported home. 

Soon, though, a question arose: How had Dillon been the only one to notice what was going on? 

The answer was simple. While other kids had been on their cell phones, listening to music, or otherwise engrossed in their electronics, Dillon didn’t have a cell phone to distract him from the world around him or limit his situational awareness. 

Dillon Reeves in his front yard the night of the bus incident.

Steve Hartman / On The Road

“What else are you going to do when you don’t have a cell phone?” Steve Reeves asked. “You’re going to look at people. You’re going to notice stuff. You’re going to look out the window and enjoy the world. It’s a very powerful lesson. Maybe a change-the-world kind of lesson, I don’t know.” 

Dillon is less convinced. 

“My parents are old-school, I guess,” he told CBS News with a sigh. 

Sometimes even heroes have it hard. 

To contact On the Road, or to send us a story idea, email us: [email protected].