When a bus packed with kids returning from a field trip came to rest at a precarious angle on the collapsed I-35W bridge, dangling over the Mississippi River, counselor Jeremy Hernandez barely had time to think. "I knew we had to get them out of there," the 20-year-old said yesterday, recalling the effort that brought all 52 children to safety.
Hernandez opened the back door and, with help from a passing construction worker and other adults, created a sort of bucket brigade with the 5- to 14-year-olds. The children credit Hernandez with saving their lives. "Jeremy was the first person to jump up and say, 'Get out of your seats and off the bus,'" says a 10-year-old camper.