OLA, Ark – An Ola man is being hailed a hero for his quick thinking during a highway accident.
Paul Wiggins was driving on Highway 7 in Ola when he came within feet from hitting a school bus full of children head on.
Wiggins says this happened Thursday, April 14 around 7:30 a.m. Wiggins says he was headed north towards Russellville delivering logs for work.
“In the log business, we usually start at 3 or 4 o’clock in the morning sometimes,” said Wiggins.
Wiggins says he drivers for work 6 days a week which means he’s used to any sort of weather. On this day though, he says conditions were unusual.
“You’ve got fog, but this fog here, I’ve never seen it this thick,” said Wiggins.
Wiggins says he couldn’t see more than 10 feet in front of him.
He drove slowly but says even that wasn’t enough for what happened next.
“All at once you see these little red lights in front of you and you know you can’t stop,” said Wiggins.
On the other side of the lights was Kenneth Hill. Hill is a bus driver for the Two Rivers School District and had a bus full of kids at the time.
“It was almost my last stop of the day,” said Hill. “I had about 45 kids on the bus at that time.”
Wiggins said he didn’t give it a second thought, driving off the road into the ditch, sacrificing himself and his livelihood.
“I couldn’t live with myself if I had killed some kids or other people,” said Wiggins.
Wiggins’ truck flipped and the driver was left inside the vehicle for about an hour before he was helped out.
Wiggins says his first question when he got out, was if the kids were ok.
“I asked them if I missed the bus and they said ‘yeah, you missed it’ and that was a big, a big relief,” said Wiggins.
Wiggins is now recovering from the accident, left with a few bruises on his arms and legs.
Those injuries will soon fade but community members say the title earned by Wiggins that day will last a lifetime.
“Some of my kids looked at me and said, ‘Mr. Kenneth, that man’s a hero, he saved our life’ and I said he sure did,” said Hill.