Officials at Denver Public Schools are congratulating school bus driver Susan Munoz for coming to the aid of a motorist who was stranded on busy Interstate 25 after a windstorm blew over mobile construction sign.
A DPS spokesman said winds were blowing at about 60 mph late in the evening of Oct. 23. Doug Hoffacker was driving his vehicle near the Washington Street exit near downtown when the incident occurred. The car was rendered inoperable and Hoffsacker found himself stranded amid vehicles traveling at highway speeds approaching him from the rear.
Munoz, a 29-year veteran driver who was returning to a DPS bus yard after completing a high school sports trip, saw the crash and immediately pulled the school bus to within four feet of Hoffsacker's car to shield it from traffic. As she radioed dispatch, another concerned motorist stopped just to the right of her bus to also provide cover from traffic. Only then did Munoz get off the bus to see if Hoffsacker was alright.
“She was my guardian angel that night,” said Hoffacker. “I appreciate her so very much.”
Munoz had no students on the bus at the time. After determining that Hoffsacker was not seriously hurt (he had a minor cut on his finger), she laid out road flares and borrowed cones from the nearby construction zone.
“With cars still traveling on either side of us, I didn’t step out of the bus right away,” Munoz said. “But I knew that with my foot on the brake, even if somebody were to have hit me, the bus would not move forward and smash his car.”
Said Nicole Portee, DPS director of transportation: “This was a scary situation, and we are extremely grateful that no one was seriously injured. We are equally proud of Susan for following emergency procedures as (Munoz) went above and beyond her call of duty in the name of public safety.”