EAST COBB, Ga. — “It was surreal to see the car upside down and a person trapped inside asking for help,” Ricky Cooper said, looking at the ditch where he recently saved a woman.
Cooper, a bus driver for Cobb County Schools, is being called a hero for jumping to action in a time of need.
“I've got to thank the Cobb County School System Transportation Department for the training that they give us year-round for situations like this,” he said. “The training they taught me was put to good use down here.”
Cooper showed 11Alive the area where the accident happened, near the intersection of Buckner Road and Rosie Lane in Mableton. He said he had just dropped off the last of his students at Lindley 6th Grade Academy.
“I was headed back to the bus port and I saw a bus in the middle of the street with its flashers on,” Cooper said. “I pulled up and I thought it was broke down. I asked him ‘hey, what's going on? Are you broke down?’ And he said ‘no, a car just flipped over and went in the ditch.’ I looked down in the ditch and I saw it upside down, wheels still spinning, and he said ‘there's someone in it.’ I parked my bus and jumped outran down the hill, and as I'm approaching the car I could hear the lady in the car screaming ‘help me, help me, help me.’ As I got there, I told her ‘stay calm, I'm here to help you.’ But the door was jammed and I could not get the door open. So I kept pulling on it and as I pried it open, she was in the car upside down. I said ‘are you okay? Is there anybody else in here?’ The first thing I thought was there might be kids in the car. She said ‘no, I'm the only one in here.’ The seat was pushed against her. It was jammed against her, so she could not get out. So I pried the seat back, and I helped her out. She said ‘I think my arm is broken.’ About that time, I saw other people running down the hill to get her.”
Cooper said it all happened very fast, and he has no idea who the woman is.
“I hope she's doing okay,” he said. “I wanted to get her name, but, at that time, I just stepped aside and let the first responders do what they do.”
Cooper said he just started this job four years, and he thoroughly enjoys seeing the children every day.
“I have a degree in criminal justice,” he said. “A lot of people ask me ‘why you don't use your degree?’ I tell them ‘I worked in the courts and within the criminal justice field. I became a bus driver because I would rather take kids to school than take them to jail. A lot of kids are not bad, I would not call them bad. They're just misguided. They need that person in their life to take them on the straight road, so that's what I do. And I'm always here for them to talk to.”
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