‘Heroes’ from Pulaski, Lafayette help students after bus was caught up in police chase

Local News

PULASKI, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Two communities nearly 50 miles apart are feeling the collateral damage from a chaotic police chase Monday.

A Pulaski Central School Bus with the girls basketball varsity and junior varsity teams on board was forced off the road along Route 11 in Lafayette when the car running from police was heading toward it.

The driver, Bob Atkinson, has been driving for more than six years. He said his quick thinking to get the bus out of harms way can be attributed to his training.

“We were in a hilly, narrow blind spot and police cars were coming over the hill really fast,” he said. “This all happened within seconds. It happened that fast.”

After avoiding the swarm of cars, the bus ended up in a ditch not far from its destination, Lafayette High School.

Atkinson made sure everyone on board was safe, then called for help.

Administrators at Lafayette High School found out what happened and sent a bus to get everyone along with a mechanic. Paramedics met the students at the high school.

“Right then and there your mind starts wondering, we have a bus involved. How many ambulances do we need?” said Alan Rudy, a paramedic with Lafayette Ambulance. “Anytime (someone) is running from the law like that and you have multiple agencies involved it effects the community so greatly. So we are glad they are ok. That could have turned out much worse.”

“Everybody just did an awesome job. It was really nice to see how quick people take charge and do things,” Atkinson said.

No one was hurt.

Lafayette kept the bus overnight to make sure it was safe to drive. The games weren’t played and will be rescheduled.


Three people have been arrested as a result of the chase.

A Syracuse Police Sergeant was able to deploy stop sticks, which helped to slow the Jeep down and it eventually stopped on Interstate 81 north near the Nedrow exit.

Three men were taken into custody:

-Shatiek Smith, 26
-Davion Garbutt, 18
-Rakiem Spears, 18

All three have been charged with criminal possession of a weapon and reckless endangerment.

Smith, the driver of the Jeep, was also charged with unlawful fleeing of a police officer.

Garbutt was arrested earlier this month in connection with a shooting in Elbridge in July.

For more local news, follow Josh Martin on Twitter @JoshMartinNC9

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