A hero passenger took over an MTA bus and averted a disaster after the driver passed out behind the wheel on the Upper East Side last night.
The driver lost consciousness while going north on Madison Avenue near East 81st at around 7:05 p.m.
The Bronx-bound BXM 18 bus careened out of control on the busy avenue for about a block. It hit several cars, a Muni-Meter and fence at PS 6 school before the brave commuter grabbed the wheel and guided it back to the road.
“We started hitting cars, people started screaming,” said Guy Praisler, 45, of Riverdale. “I figured something happened to the driver and I just jumped up and held the wheel.”
The bus – with 18 aboard – was going 25 to 30 mph hour when driver Kevin Prendergast, a 30-year veteran, slumped over the wheel at about 80th Street.
The impact of the runaway bus on cars left two people injured.
Praisler managed to ease the unconscious driver’s foot off the gas pedal, which, in accordance with the design of city buses, caused it to stop at about 85th street.
“I wasn’t trying to be hero. I just wanted to stop the bus,” Praisler said.
Praisler, who runs a tech company, was on his way home from work, when the driver keeled over. He said Prendergast came to when the incident was finally over.
“After we stopped, he regained his conscious and started asking what happened,” Praisler said.
“I just feel bad for the driver. He’s a really nice guy.”
Six people were injured, including the driver, three of his passengers, an SUV driver and a cab passenger.
Four of people were taken to nearby Lenox Hill Hospital with minor injuries. Three were released last night.
The driver was taken to Columbia-Presbyterian.
Officials would not describe his condition or say why he might have passed out.
An MTA source said Prendergast got dizzy before blacking out.
“Passengers said it was like he was in a trance,” the source said.
Source: NY Post