No one knows what might have happened had Dot Snesrud and Joanie Treadway not been aboard that school bus 7 years ago. All that we know for sure is that these two brave women were willing to put their lives on the line, to save their students.
On May 9th, 2007, the 5th grade class in Osceola was enjoying a field trip to Stuhr Museum in Grand Island. It was a great day for 15 students, until, the bus ride back to Polk County.
5th grade teacher Dot Snesrud remembers the scene all too well, "I did say to Joanie in a loud voice, 'I don't think that cars going to stop.'"
And the car driven by a 16 year girl didn't stop...until it gone through a stop sign and had slammed into the front of the school bus driven by Joanie Treadway, "It seemed like hours instead of seconds because it just was a bunch of dirt, but when we finally did stop we were in the other lane...because the car hit us that hard."
Dot took control of the situation, "I got up and said, 'Out the door, leave everything, don't worry about anything, just get off this bus now.'"
Shortly thereafter, Dot and Joanie got the kids got off the bus, the car burst into flames and then caught the bus on fire. Joanie says, "Everybody said I was a hero, but I didn't feel like a hero because all the kids, whichever but I've driven I've told them that they were my bus family and I would take care of them just like I would my own children."
11 year old, Chase Zelasney helped Dot & Joanie get the back door opened up, "They took care of us that day...and I felt like we were a family."
Kendra Gustafson knew that her daughter Lauryn was in good hands that day, "As a parent, I am so grateful that these were the two people with our children. There was nobody else who was meant to be with them that day."
On Saturday, May 17th, the lives of these 17 survivors will be celebrated in Osceola. And I'm guessing there won't be many dry eyes in the Osceola High School gymnasium as the class of 2014 receives their diplomas...7 years after that very scary day along Highway 92.