Chaperone: I was thinking as bus was rolling over ‘this is how I die’

A mid-Michigan woman had a scary thought when an Ithaca school bus rolled over.
Published: Mar. 4, 2022 at 5:43 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

ITHACA, Mich. (WNEM)- A mid-Michigan woman had a scary thought when an Ithaca school bus rolled over.

Wednesday, a bus carrying the Ithaca Ski Club was traveling Northbound on US-127 when it swerved off the road and flipped over.

Rebecca Hartman survived the school bus crash.

“The first day was shock and sadness. And then yesterday I had to go back to the E.R. And it was like just physical pain and stuff and pain at night. And today I just woke up angry and I wish, I wish I knew at who, or why,” Hartman said. “I had time as we’re rolling upside down to think ‘this is how I die.’ my daughter is about to lose her mom.”

Hartman was a chaperone for Ithaca’s Ski Club. 24 students and three adults were going to Harrison for an event.

She said the bus driver seemed fine.

“I heard him on the radio before we pulled out saying ‘OK. I’ll let you know when I get back and you can come pick me up’. And ‘hey how’s the kids? How’s everybody doing’. And everything was normal,” Hartman said.

Hartman was sitting in the second seat from the front looking down at her iPad and felt rumble strips. When Hartman looked up, she saw the bus going into the ditch.

“I looked at the driver his head was slumped down forward to the right,” Hartman said.

That’s when a teacher, Mr. Whitford, jumped out of his seat grabbing the wheel to stop the bus from going into oncoming traffic. Then the bus started to roll over.

“And I remember out of my peripheral vision, um, seeing the kids, just seeing children flying,” Hartman said.

Hartman said it felt like being in a rock tumbler. She said she didn’t feel any pain until she got to the hospital.

“It feels like I got hit by a truck. Just every muscle, my ribs. I sneezed earlier and started crying because it hurt so bad,” Hartman said.

She is at home recovering next to her daughter Judeah. Judeah was supposed to be on the bus but had a headache so she stayed behind.

Hartman calls it the best headache ever. She is glad everyone involved in the crash lived to talk about it.

“I want the kids to know that they can ask the school for my email, my number, I want them to get ahold of me. If they want to talk about anything, if they can’t sleep. Anything at all, because there’s only a couple of us that were there that know this experience,” Hartman said.