Welcome To
Acadia Broadcasting NewsThe Latest and Greatest ContentYour Trusted Local Source


Terrie Brown received a safety heroism award for saving his own life and the lives of 23 students on his bus when a tractor-trailer fell into the road ahead of him. (Jacob Moore/Acadia Broadcasting)

Halifax bus driver awarded for heroism, saving 23 students

By Jacob Moore May 24, 2024 | 5:53 PM

Terrie Brown was driving at about 100 km/h along Highway 102 on May 16, when he saw a transport truck hit the guardrail of an overpass ahead of him and break through, falling down an embankment and into the road.

He hit the brakes as hard as he could and stopped about a foot from the truck, he says, avoiding a crash, and keeping safe the 23 students on board.

“I didn’t have any alternatives. It was either go to the concrete medium and try to stop the bus that way or the ditch, and I chose to stay on a straight line with the brakes hard on,” says Brown.

Southland Transportation, the school bus company, and Rocky Lake Junior High School presented an award to Brown on Friday.

He accepted a safety hero award from Southland, along with a so-called safety championship belt, a small version of a boxing belt.

“With your quick reaction time, you made sure that you’re able to get safely home to Joanne [Brown’s wife] and those 23 students were able to get safely home to their parents and their guardians,” Coady MacNeil, manager of operations at Southland, tells the crowd.

After he stopped the bus, the first thing he did was ask the students if they were okay, and thankfully, he says, they were all fine. Police told the Acadia Broadcasting newsroom last week that no one was injured in the crash.

Then the students started peaking their heads out of the sides of their seats, trying to see what happened.

But Brown is thankful the bus has anti-lock brakes, which prevent drivers from losing control when they hit the brakes like he did.

Terrie Brown sits in his school bus on May 24, 2024. (Jacob Moore/Acadia Broadcasting)

It’s important that all the children were sitting down when he stopped, too.

“I just wouldn’t even want to think about what could have happened if [they were standing]” he says.

He took the day off after the accident, and when he came back on Tuesday, he felt anxious about driving until he started down his regular route and talked to the students on the bus. But he says it’ll take some time until he feels totally back to normal again.

“Everybody’s calling me a hero. I don’t feel like a hero. I just feel like I’ve done my job the best I could do it,” he says.

He’s been a bus driver for nine years, and nothing like this has ever happened to him.

David Reed, the principal of Rock Lake Junior High, whose students were on the bus, says he’s never seen anything like this either.

He’s thankful for Brown’s heroic act, he says, but he also congratulates the students for respecting the rules and their bus drivers, which kept them safe.

This incident will be an example to reiterate that, when drivers can focus on the road, they can get students home safe.

“From what I hear, since [Brown stopped the bus], it’s been exceptional on the way home,” says Reed.