Basketball team were on bus back, when huge jolt wakes them up—that’s when coach sees the driver

January 2, 2018 2:10 pm Last Updated: January 2, 2018 2:10 pm

The University of Dubuque’s women’s basketball team were on a bus headed back home when all of a sudden a jolt caused assistant coach Justin Smith to jump out of his seat.

Thanks to Smith’s quick-thinking, a potential accident was avoided.

The women’s basketball team were taking a bus home from their tournament in Nashville.

UDWBB is in Nashville,Tennessee competing in the D3 Music City Classic. Enjoying our time together watching Vanderbilt University vs. Lipscomb University. #udwbb #bleedblue #1%

Posted by University of Dubuque Women's Basketball on Thursday, December 28, 2017

The team from Iowa was on their way home from a tournament in Nashville, Tennessee, when about 90 minutes into the trip, their bus driver suffered a “medical emergency.”

The bus, which had been going 70 mph, slammed into a guardrail. The initial jolt caused everyone to stir and question what had happened.

“It’s one of those things where, you know, you’re sleeping and you hear a noise, but you’re not really sure what that noise is,” Mark Noll, the head coach of the women’s basketball team told KCRG.

Suddenly their bus driver passed out at the wheel and they were all in danger.

Posted by University of Dubuque Women's Basketball on Monday, December 4, 2017

Although Smith wasn’t sure of the cause of the jolt, he jumped into action, and immediately noticed the driver was not in control of the vehicle.

“I just kind of bounced up and did probably what any single person would have done when they see that and jumped up, grab the wheel, and hit the brakes and tried to get the bus off the interstate as fast as possible,” Smith told KCRG.

He told the Associated Press that he estimated the time from the jolt to when grabbed the wheel was about three seconds.

Smith jumped into action and saved the bus from causing a major accident.

I am Excited to announce that Justin Smith will be joining our UD WBB Staff June 3rd as our Full Time Assistant Coach. …

Posted by University of Dubuque Women's Basketball on Thursday, May 18, 2017

Strangely enough, Smith, who is in his first year as an assistant coach for the University, commented how this exact situation is something he’s thought about many times before.

“I’ve been a high school coach and had a lot of late nights on yellow school buses,” he told the AP. “For some reason, always had in the back of my mind, what if the bus driver fell asleep.”

While it’s unfortunate that he recently found out the answer to his hypothetical question, everyone involved was extremely thankful for his response.

The sheriff’s department called him “heroic.”

The responding sheriff’s department called him a hero, but Smith insisted that his actions were not unusual.

“I think there’s a lot of people that do a lot of other self-sacrificing things that I would call heroic, I just did what I needed to do to keep myself and the people on the bus alive,” he said.