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Good Samaritan stops to help students who were on bus hit head on by driver in 291 Highway crash

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- When a wrong-way driver hit a school bus head on Thursday evening, a good Samaritan behind the bus went into action. She called 911 then stopped to help when that driver hit the bus carrying the Wellington-Napoleon boys and girl’s basketball teams.

The car driver died, and the bus driver suffered a moderate injury according the Missouri Highway Patrol's crash log.

FOX 4's Melissa Stern spoke with that eye-witness who says had it not been for the bus -- she probably wouldn't be alive to tell her story today.

“The car from the other side of the highway came across and hit the bus head on, going like 60 miles per hour,” said 21-year-old Sierra Kunellis.

Kunellis was heading to work just before 4:30 Thursday afternoon when she saw the crash.

“The bus got knocked onto the median in the grass, and the first thing I was worried about was, there`s children on the bus, and I was like, oh God, there`s no seat belts on buses,” Kunellis said.

She says she was driving right behind the bus, pulled over immediately, and called 911.

“I got out of the car to make sure everyone on the bus was okay, we opened the door and had them all come out the back part of it, so they could all stand up and make sure they were physically okay,” Kunellis said.

She says the students were very shaken up and scared.

“I wanted to make sure they were okay and had someone there with them before the ambulance and everybody showed up,” added Kunellis.

The bus was carrying the Wellington-Napoleon girls and boys basketball players, cheerleaders, and their coaches.

They were on their way to North Platte for senior night when the Missouri State Highway Patrol says the southbound driver in the northbound lanes of 291 Highway struck them head on.

“My heart dropped, I was like oh God, what are they doing? I was like maybe they fell asleep while driving, or they had a seizure, or a heart attack or something,” said Kunellis.

The driver of the car was killed, and the Apple Bus driver was hospitalized.

“If that bus wouldn`t have been there, that car would have hit me head on, and my little car would have been destroyed by that car,” Kunellis said. “I was thankful that everyone on the bus was okay, but I was also thankful that car didn`t come and hit me head on.”

Kunellis says she waited there with them for about 30 minutes as other drivers stopped to move debris out of the highway so traffic could get through.

She was happy to help, and relieved she wasn't a victim as well.

The superintendent of the Wellington-Napoleon School District says there were no broken bones or concussions.

The district made counselors available, and some of the students chose to rest at home on Friday.