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D32 bus driver saves choking child


Sandy Sauer pictured with Cameron  

The parents of a fourth grader are grateful for the quick actions of District 32 bus driver Sandy Sauer, who saved the boy’s life Tuesday morning.


Kimberly and Brian Weekly said their son Cameron, 9, boarded the bus with a piece of hard candy in his mouth.


"When he realized he still had the candy in his mouth, he went to the front of the bus to spit it in the trashcan," Mrs. Weekly said. "He took a breath, and the candy lodged in his airway.


“When Miss Sandy realized that Cameron was in distress, she patted his back and asked if he could breathe.”


When Cameron indicated that he could not breathe, Mrs. Sauer administered the Heimlich maneuver, eventually dislodging the candy. She radioed school, and continued on her route. Elementary nurse Tish Bell, RN, was waiting to examine Cameron as soon as they arrived at school.


“He was shaken up, but he was fine,” Mrs. Weekley said. “He told me that he guesses this why Miss Sandy doesn’t allow candy on the bus. He came home for the day, and rested, and was ready to go back to school on Tuesday.”

Cameron wasn’t the only one a bit shaken by Monday’s events.


“I’ve never had anything like this happen on my bus before,” said Mrs. Sauer. She has been driving for Perry County School District 32 for 5 years.


“I was calm until I unloaded all of my students, and then it really hit me what could have happened, and I cried,” she said. “I am just so relieved and so grateful that he’s ok.”


Superintendent Andy Comstock credited Mrs. Sauer’s quick thinking and the training she and all district drivers undergo each year with averting a tragedy.


“We’re all proud of Sandy and her heroic efforts to protect a student in her care,” he said. “Our drivers are highly trained not just in transporting students, but in things like first aid and CPR. They prepare for the worst, and hope for the best. On Monday, Sandy faced the worst and allowed us to have the best possible outcome.”


On Wednesday morning, Cameron again boarded Miss Sandy’s bus, this time with a card and a hug.  


"We're just so grateful that Miss Sandy was trained to know what to do and that she acted so quickly. She's been his driver since he started kindergarten, and we love her so much. We love her even more now. She saved our child."