Lake County school bus driver used bus to protect hit-and-run victim

EUSTIS, Fla. – A Lake County school bus driver is being hailed as a hero for using her bus to protect a hit-and-run victim last week.

News 6 caught up with the bus driver while she was waiting to pick up kids on her bus on Monday. Hatcher said last Monday she was on her way back to the bus depot after dropping off Eustis High School bandmembers after a field trip when she found Abigail Stevens lying in the road.

The hit-and-run happened near the Lakeview Avenue and Morin Drive intersection. Hatcher said she normally wouldn’t take Lakeview, but she said something told her to go straight that night.

“I thought it was a prank for Halloween you know that someone would do to put someone in the road to kind of scare someone which it did scare me,” Hatcher said. “So when I saw her I immediately put my bus in park and I brightened my lights and what made me know it was a real body — I saw blood running alongside the road where she was laying and I immediately called 911. “

Hatcher said it’s been an emotional week after finding Stevens, but she said it gets better as each day passes.

“Day by day I am coping with it,” Hatcher said. “I’ll get better. I pray for her every day and I know God is going to bring her through because he wouldn’t have led me that way if he wasn’t.”

Eustis Police Chief, Craig Capri, praised Hatcher for her quick thinking.

“She was definitely at the right place at the right time, and she saved the human life that day,” Capri said. “She’s a hero and she should be recognized as that.”

Capri said right now they don’t have a suspect description — but they do have a suspect vehicle. Police posted pictures of the car earlier this week. Capri said they’re hoping someone will come forward with new information or new video to point them in the right direction.

“Hopefully somebody will come through, somebody saw something, somebody will know something,” Capri said. “We beg them to come forward and help us out.”

News 6 spoke to the victim’s sister off-camera. She said her sister is suffering from more than 20 broken bones and is being put back on a ventilator.

If you have any information on the crash you are encouraged to call the Eustis police department.

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