StarTran bus driver receives award for saving toddler in traffic

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LINCOLN, Neb. (Press Release) - Mayor Chris Beutler will present the Mayor’s Award of Excellence for December to StarTran Bus Operator Jason Stege from the Public Works and Utilities Department Monday. The award will be presented at 3 p.m. at the beginning of the City Council meeting at the County-City Building, 555 S 10th Street. The monthly award recognizes City employees who consistently provide exemplary service and work that demonstrates personal commitment to the City.

Stege was nominated by bus operations superintendent Mike Weston in the category of valor for his heroic actions November 3. At about 6 p.m., Stege was driving a Handivan north on 10th Street in heavy traffic. As he reached “A” Street, he saw a toddler walk into traffic. Stege stopped immediately to block traffic, and the van was nearly hit from behind. He then jumped out of his van and grabbed the child and the two were almost hit by a car traveling at about 35 mph. Stege noticed two police officers across the street, and as he started to take the child to them, the child’s brother ran up to them. Stege handed the child to one of the officers while the other officer attempted to find the parents.

Stege’s act was witnessed by several citizens, including one who praised his actions on a Facebook post. She wrote, “Witnessed what could have been a horrific accident that could happen to anyone!” She goes on to describe how the child ran out into traffic and said, “The bus driver stopped his bus, and ran out after the child but not before he got into the next lane. The woman in the second lane had no way she could have seen what was coming but my best guess is she saw the bus stop unexpectedly and slammed on her brakes.”

“I feel Jason’s heroic actions saved his child from a potential catastrophic event,” Weston said.

The other categories in which employees can be nominated are productivity, safety, customer relations and loss prevention. Consideration also may be given to nominations that demonstrate self-initiated accomplishments or those completed outside of the nominee’s job description. All City employees are eligible for the award except for elected and appointed officials. Individuals or teams can be nominated by supervisors, peers, subordinates and the general public.

All nominations are considered by the Mayor’s Award of Excellence Committee, which includes a representative with each union and a non-union representative appointed by the Mayor. Award winners receive a $50 gift certificate, a day off with pay and a plaque. All monthly winners and nominees are eligible to receive the annual award, which comes with a $250 gift certificate, two days off with pay and a plaque.