May 12, 2014 9:17:16 AM
It's been a wild ride for sisters Bettye Windom and Beth Insley since their short, wild ride to stop a burning school bus.
Windom said she and her sister were driving home the evening of April 30, in a car with right-hand drive that Windom had just bought for her rural postal route. She had pulled the 2012 Kia Soul up at a four-way stop in Georgetown and saw smoke coming from the front of a school bus.
Instead of continuing home they turned right to try to pull the bus over. Windom, 24, flashed her headlights while her sister, 29 and a nurse at St. Dominic's Hospital in Jackson, leaned out the left-hand window and yelled, "Stop the bus! Stop the bus!"
"They might have thought we were crazy people," Windom said Saturday. At any rate, the bus didn't stop.
So, calling 911, she pulled alongside the bus. Her sister kept waving and shouting. When that didn't work, she pulled in front of it and slammed on her brakes.
"That's when I saw sparks," she said.
The sisters leaped out of the car, shouting for everyone to get off the bus.
"As soon as we got everybody off the bus, the bus just went into flames," Windom said.
Since then, the sisters, who live next door to each other in Wesson, a town of 1,925, have been interviewed by WAPT-TV, by ABC's Diane Sawyer, flown to Los Angeles by "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" and interviewed by "Parade" and "People" magazines.
"It was crazy that they even called me," Windom said.
She said the trip to Los Angeles didn't include any time for sightseeing. Besides, she wanted to get back home to her 2-year-old daughter, Marley.
The bus carried about 20 Port Gibson High School seniors on their way back from taking high-school exit exams in Hattiesburg.
Windom said it would have been worth sacrificing the new car to save them, but the bus stopped without hitting it.
"We just knew we had to get those kids off that bus," Windom said.
She said "People" scheduled a photo shoot Sunday evening with the students in Georgetown.
"It's real good for us, because this is the first time we get to see the students. We're so excited," Windom said.
The school system plans to give them an award, she said.
Other people have called the sisters heroes. Windom said she doesn't think they did anything heroic.
"Were just happy that everybody got off safe," she said.
1. Parents' complaints lead to investigation of CMSD special education department COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY
2. Students leaving CMSD at alarming rate COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY
4. CMSD could look to other districts for success COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY
5. Special education at CMSD: Becoming an advocate COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY