An auxiliary police officer from Baltimore County happened to be on the scene when an out of control school bus ran into a child at a bus stop on Monday morning,
The officer’s quick reaction saved the child’s life.
There are 77 auxiliary police officers who support the Baltimore County Police Department. They’re volunteers trained in some aspects of law enforcement and issued uniforms but not weapons.
Matthew Knight is one of them.
He’s a Parkville resident, but he works at a property management company in Prince George’s County where he was Monday morning. He saw the bus rolling toward a bus stop across from High Point High School in Beltsville. And he saw the group of students the bus was headed toward.
“I looked up at the bus driver to make eye contact and there wasn't one. There was nobody behind the wheel,” he said.
The several children at the bus stop, “had no idea what was coming their way,” he said.
Knight yelled for the children to get out of the way, but one of them didn't make it.
“When he looked up the bus was in his face. They didn't have much time to react at all,” he said.
He ran to the victim, an 8-year-old boy, who was trapped between the bus's front axle and the ground.
“He was kicking and screaming, yelling, ‘please get me out, please get me out,’” he said.
Knight was able to pull the boy out and assess his condition while waiting for medics to arrive. He said his training as an auxiliary police officer kicked in.
“They teach you, when you're in situations like that and things happen you don't have time to think. You just react and the training takes over from there,” he said.
Prince George's County Police believe the driver of the bus, Arturo Harris, had stopped to use the bathroom at the high school. Harris faces reckless endangerment charges. Police do not believe the emergency brake had been engaged.
Rescue crews rushed the boy to the hospital but he has since been released and is expected to make a full recovery.
“It was definitely just thanking God,” Knight said. “Really I mean just a relief that this could have turned out a lot worse than it did.”
Knight said he hopes to be an actual police officer someday in Baltimore County.