An Arkansas log truck driver is being hailed as a hero for his actions in avoiding a collision with a school bus last week.
The incident occurred around 7:30 a.m. on Thursday, April 14, in Ola, Arkansas, according to local outlet KARK.
Log truck driver Paul Wiggins was fully loaded and en route to Russellville when heavy fog descended on Highway 7.
From Yell County police:
…the loaded log truck was traveling north when he hit a dense fog bank with poor visibility. He started to slow down when he saw a stopped school bus in front of him with its warning lights flashing. The school bus was picking up children. The driver instantly made the decision to swerve hard to the left.
Wiggins crashed off the highway into a ditch.
For about a hour, Wiggins was trapped inside the wrecked truck before he was rescued.
After he was freed from the wrecked big rig, Wiggins said, “I asked them if I missed the bus and they said ‘yeah, you missed it’ and that was a big, a big relief.”
Wiggins suffered minor injuries including bruises on his arms and legs. However, he operated as an independent truck driver and his vehicle is likely totaled, according to a GoFundMe page set up for him.
None of the approximately 45 students on the school bus were hurt.
“I couldn’t live with myself if I had killed some kids or other people,” Wiggins said.
Bus driver Kenneth Hill said, “Some of my kids looked at me and said, ‘Mr. Kenneth, that man’s a hero, he saved our life’ and I said he sure did.”
Yell County police said, “[Wiggins’s] heroic actions prevented him from rear ending the school bus, and possibly injuring, or worse, the children on the bus. His actions caused him to miss the bus and put his own life in danger when his loaded log truck rolled over and the cab came to rest against trees. We applaud the selfless actions of the driver, Paul Wiggins, for risking his life to save the lives of those children.”