May 17 started out like any other day in Mike Benson’s life. The owner of Powder Mill Towing & Auto Repair in Parsippany, N.J., was towing a car to Pennsylvania. But as he drove through the Mount Olive section of Interstate 80, everything changed.
In front of him, a bus taking fifth-graders on a field trip collided with a dump truck. The body of the bus was ripped away and fell on its side. Benson acted immediately, closing off the highway with his truck.
“I didn’t want any kids running around in the highway,” he said.
Benson ran to help. He freed children from under and inside the bus. Some were stuck in their seats, pinned in and dangling from their seat belts. Benson cut them free.
Benson guided the students through a blown-out back window. A few minutes later, another bystander noticed that one of the students wasn’t breathing. Benson immediately began performing CPR. The student survived.
Although two people – a student and a teacher – were killed, the situation could have been far worse if not for Benson’s heroic actions. After the incident, he went right back to work.
His actions didn’t go unrecognized. Benson received an award for outstanding EMS action by a citizen at a ceremony in October. The New Jersey Department of Health’s Office of Emergency Medical Services and the New Jersey Medical Services Council nominated him for the award.
Powder Mill Towing & Auto Repair has been a AAA Preferred Service Provider since August 1985, and a AAA Approved Auto Repair facility since June 2009.
Visit AAA.com/AAR to search for a AAA Approved Auto Repair facility in your area.