MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Eleven kids are okay after quick thinking stopped a runaway school bus Wednesday afternoon in Aitkin County.

A sheriff’s deputy spotted the bus weaving when the driver was having a medical emergency and couldn’t pull over.

“It was one of those things that you don’t see every day,” Sheriff Scott Turner said.

The 11 kids on board had just finished another school day in Isle, and were on their way home.

“[The sheriff’s deputy] first saw the vehicle … weave within its lane a little bit. That time she thought something’s not right, and then, you know, she turned her lights on trying to stop it and the weaving became more pronounced,” Turner said.

At one point the bus — travelling at about 40 miles an hour — goes into a ditch, almost tips over, and then somehow drives back onto the road.

The deputy did what she could to warn oncoming traffic.

“She was getting around the bus in the opposite lane to alert vehicles that were ahead of the bus that there was some problem on the roadway there to, you know, get out of the way,” Turner said.

One driver had to put it in reverse to avoid a head-on collision — eventually maneuvering into a driveway.

A state trooper eventually used stop sticks to get the bus to stop in a ditch in the town of Glen.

The bus driver, 68-year-old Scott Gilbertson, was immediately rushed to the hospital.

Thankfully, none of the kids on board were hurt.

“They were shook up. I mean that’s not something any of us would expect when we hop in any vehicle, let alone a school bus,” Turner said.

The kids ranged in age from 6 to 14. Some called 911 and their parents during the incident.

It lasted about 14 minutes and covered about five-and-a-half miles.

There is no word on how the driver is doing Thursday night.

John Lauritsen

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