POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – When a man dripping with blood during a rampage Friday morning started yanking on the door, Margie Yzaguirre told 8 On Your Side there was no way she was letting him get on her school bus.
“I don’t feel as though I’m a hero, just doing my job,” she said in an exclusive interview Friday night. “When they’re on my bus, they’re my kids so that’s the way I look at it. I’m a mom those are my babies when they’re on this bus and they’re safety is my priority.”
Yzaguirre said she wasn’t expecting to end her first week back on the job since Polk County Schools reopened with a frightening encounter and high praise from Sheriff Grady Judd.
“The school bus driver was a hero,” Sheriff Judd said during a news conference. “She kept the doors locked. She didn’t let him in.”
As the bus driver of nine years in Polk County picked up her first student shortly after 6 a.m. – a few minutes earlier than normal – she said she noticed a truck speeding past the stop arm on Old Polk City Road.
“He was just driving wrecklessly and then he wrecked into the fence and the tree there,” she said.
Yzaguirre described for 8 On Your Side what happened next after the crash when 45-year-old Mayson Armando Ortiz-Vazquez approached the side of her bus.
“And then he come around to my bus door yanking on my door, wanting to let him in and I refused and told him to get away from the bus,” she said.
After moving away from the bus, deputies said Ortiz-Vazquez jumped on two other cars before breaking into a nearby house where the homeowner shot and killed him.
Yzaguirre called her dispatcher who alerted law enforcement before finishing her morning route and dropping off all the students on time.
“She reacted exactly in the way we would want a bus driver to react in that situation. She kept the safety of her students in the forefront of her mind,” Rob Davis, PCPS’ assistant superintendent for support services said in a Facebook post. “She did everything right, and we’re extremely proud of her.”
The parents of the first boy who boarded the bus on his way to Lake Gibson High expressed their gratitude toward Yzaguirre.
“When I heard about it, I was extremely grateful for her reacting as quickly as she did,” said Carolyn Hughes. “I feel very safe with my child being with her every day. I’m grateful to her.”
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