Mineral Ridge bus driver quickly reacts when student starts choking

Local News

MINERAL RIDGE, Ohio (WKBN) – Being a school bus driver comes with a lot of responsibility. Rick Lemley drives more than 90 kids a day for the Weathersfield Local School District. He’s been doing the job for five years and never experienced any truly scary moments, until about three weeks ago.

It was just like any other day.

Lemley picked up kids from Seaborn Elementary School and was driving his routes to take them home. Suddenly, a scream came roaring from behind him.

“I just went to pull into Sable Creek across from the school and one of the little fifth graders on my bus, his name is Trevor Spitler, he yelled out. He said, ‘Mr. Rick, Gavin is choking!'” Lemley said.

Gavin Niemczura is a fourth grader at Seaborn. He was eating a piece of hard candy when he started choking.

Lemley immediately pulled the bus over.

“He starts like rushing over to here and he helped. He kind of helps get me some air,” Niemczura said.

Lemley did the Heimlich maneuver for about 40 seconds, then finally, Niemczura could breathe better.

In his five years of bus driving, Lemley said he never had something like this happen.

“I just reacted. It was so quick and so fast that I just didn’t know what to do,” he said.

Those quick actions helped save Niemczura’s life, something he will be forever grateful for.

“I feel happy that he helped me. I feel very glad that he came over to help,” Niemczura said.

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