Hero netball coach grabs bus wheel to avert motorway disaster when driver falls ill
A hero netball coach saved the lives of her team on the way to a match by grabbing their bus' steering wheel when their driver suddenly fell ill.
Lisa Stanley rushed from her seat as the driver slumped forward and the vehicle veered dangerously towards a ditch.
The 33-seater coach was picking up speed and had gone onto the hard shoulder of the M1 motorway in Derbyshire.
Quick thinking: Lisa Stanley, 35, at the wheel of her car, who stopped the bus as the driver blacked out at the wheel - and prevented a big accident
But Lisa managed to slam her feet on the brakes, bringing them to a safe stop.
The drama happened on Saturday just days after a Belgian coach crashed in Switzerland, killing 28 people.
Horror: Lisa Stanley grabbed the steering wheel on the M1 motorway on Saturday
Paramedics rushed the driver to hospital after he recovered consciousness.
Lisa, 35, coach of Team Northumbria's Netball Superleague team,said her 'instincts took over'.
She said: 'I noticed the bus speed up and go up over the hard shoulder and I looked up to see what the driver was playing at.
'But I saw his head slump towards the window and he slipped towards the floor.
'I just jumped up to try to take control - it was like my instincts took over.'
The team had been travelling from the North East for a Superleague clash at Loughborough Lightning in Leicestershire when the accident happened on Saturday. New age of pay-to-drive: Motorists face more tolls under plans to lease roadsThe EuroMillions loser: Bus driver dropped out of syndicate six months before they scooped ?38MILLION jackpot making them all ?3,169,553 richer
The team had stopped for a break just half an hour before the driver, who worked for Stanley Coaches, fell unconscious near Junction 29A on the southbound carriageway at Holmewood, Derbyshire.
Lisa said the driver, who is in his 60s, had been in good spirits with the girls as they set off again, but just a few miles down the road he blacked out.
'I put my hand on the wheel but the bus was heavy and it had hit the first barrier,' said Lisa, who has a nine-year-old daughter, Ellie.
'I pulled it away, but because it was heavy it came round and hit the barrier a second time.
'I got one leg over the driver who was falling to the floor and got my foot on the brake, and my other leg on the clutch, and pulled it straight before slamming on the brakes.'
It was over in a matter of seconds but Lisa, of Seaham, County Durham. said the team had a lucky escape, as the bus was travelling at over 60mph.
Lisa added: 'About five or six of the girls were asleep at the time when the bus hit the barrier.
'They were actually flung from their chairs, whereas those who were awake had managed to brace themselves.
Coach horror: The Northumbria University netball team who were involved in an M1 coach crash. 14 players were on board as the driver blacked out
Horror: The accident happened near junction 29 of the M1 (pictured)
'I was just in adrenaline mode when I grabbed the wheel, but a lot of the girls were screaming around me.
'The bus was doing about 60mph, and some of the speakers on the overhead fell out because of the impact.
'A fellow member of the coaching staff was actually struck on the head by one of the speakers.
'They're are a few girls on the team who are only 17 or 18, so it must have been really scary for them.
The 13 players and four staff members escaped uninjured.
The bus driver regained consciousness as the bus came to a halt and was cared for by the team's manager and physiotherapist.
Emergency services were called and the driver was kept overnight in hospital, but has since been released.
The match had to be postponed as the girls were too shaken to play and were taken back to the North East.
'It all happened that quickly no one realised what was happening,' said Lisa, a former England international netball player.'
'But they were shaken when they got off the bus and a while later there were a few tears when the reality kicked in.
Andrew Scott, director of Stanley Coaches, said: 'The driver has well over 20 years experience and has driven all over the country and abroad.
'Fortunately, one of the girls reacted straight away and knew what was going on, jumped over the seat and took control of the steering wheel.'
He said the driver had been given a series of tests at hospital but doctors were unable to discover what had caused him to lose consciousness.
He is due to be kept under observation by his local GP.
Team captain Sam Holt said: 'Everyone is hailing Lisa a hero.
'I saw exactly what she did. I saw her jump over the driver and take control of the wheel.
'It was extremely surreal but we are just extremely happy Lisa had the reaction she did and grateful.'
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NewestOldestBest ratedWorst rated View allJohnny English 16 : 08 Vacancies in Corby.... that's Stagecoach , isn't it ??
- james, puerto del rosario, canary islands, 19/3/2012 16:56
Click to rate Rating 2Report abuse
Nice one Lisa!There are 12 bus driving vacancies currently on offer in Corby if you fancy a change!
- Johnny English, Kent, 19/3/2012 16:08
Click to rate Rating 19Report abuse
Couldn't coaches have " dead man's automatic braking " fitted ? Well done that lady ; hope the jobsworths won't be enquiring about your PCV licence !
- james, puerto del rosario, canary islands, 19/3/2012 15:26
Click to rate Rating 28Report abuse
What a good job there was no one from 'elf'n'safety on board, advising Lisa to make a risk assessment first.
- Mike Spilligan, Melton Mowbray, 19/3/2012 15:13
Click to rate Rating 39Report abuse
What a quick witted action. It must have been horrifying for everyone on board with the sad news from Switzerland still in mind.
- Cyrus Hood, Southampton Hants, 19/3/2012 14:23
Click to rate Rating 48Report abuse
Well done that girl!!!
- Hadrian, Londinium, 19/3/2012 14:07
Click to rate Rating 84Report abuse
Well done Lisa! You deserve a commendation.
- Cyrus Hood, Southampton Hants, 19/3/2012 14:06
Click to rate Rating 79Report abuse
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