Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Terror on the M62; Passenger Leaps into Action after Coach Driver Collapses during Journey on Busy Motorway

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Terror on the M62; Passenger Leaps into Action after Coach Driver Collapses during Journey on Busy Motorway

Article excerpt

Byline: IAN JOHNSON ian.johnson01@trinitymirror.com @Ian_JohnsonGaz

WITHIN seconds of waking up, Stuart Bateman found himself fighting to save 35 lives.

The Wetherspoon's worker leaped into action when a National Holidays driver collapsed at the wheel of his coach on the busy M62.

As screaming passengers feared the worst, Stuart brought the huge Mercedes vehicle to a halt with a stranger's help - and little thought for his own safety.

"It was scary but at the same time I didn't have time to think - all I could think about was stopping the bus," said the 37-year-old.

"I literally just acted on instinct, I looked at the driver slumped over the wheel and you don't think, you just act.

"The only time it really dawned on me what was happening was when I was standing trying to hold this wheel with a massive glass window in front of me and I just thought 'If we do crash, where do I go?'" The 45-year-old driver passed out near Manchester, around 30 minutes after leaving Liverpool as the coach headed to Stockton.

Stuart and his girlfriend Helen Langley, from Norton, had dozed off only to be woken by the sound of terror. "We were both woken up by the sound of women just shouting and screaming," said Stuart.

"There was a lot of commotion. "At first people thought there was a fight going on at the front of the bus, but then I saw the driver slumped over the wheel and I just acted.

"I just hit my seatbelt button and grabbed this big wheel to make sure the bus was at least straight while I watched the road and attempted to steer."

It was difficult, and left the bus scuffed and dented.

As Stuart fought to control the bus on the motorway, it shunted against cars and scraped railings.

"When the car was hitting into the barriers I think that's when people realised something serious was going on," added Stuart, who works at The Highland Laddie. …

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