Helen is one of the brave students from the LYF, Inc. School for disabled adults..
She was one of nine on the bus when a car with three men on an alleged crime spree smashed into them.
It happened on Collier Parkway in Land O’ Lakes Monday, just minutes from the school.
“They were superstars. The driver did a great job making sure that everybody was safe. That everybody was in control, both emotionally and physically,” said school director Jim Cracchiolo.
The Sheriff’s office said after the crash the trio ran from their rented car, but not before grabbing a purse they had stolen earlier from a Pasco County daycare center and a license plate they took too.
“It’s despicable that you just crash this car and you don’t help the people and you don’t render aid. You’d rather run into a pond because you are a coward, over a purse,” said Pasco Sheriff’s Office captain William Davis.
Bystanders actually followed the men, called 911, and even took pictures along the way, helping lead deputies right to them. And yes, one had jumped into a pond.
Investigators said, the men have a long criminal record. And they came from Ft. Lauderdale to commit quick property crimes, stealing from cars at places like day cares, gyms and doctors offices.
Tampa Bay has seen a rash of these type of thefts in recent weeks.
“They are hitting places off the interstate, off of major roads, please lock your car doors, don’t make an easy target,” said Sheriff Chris Nocco.
Back at the school, they look at what happened kind of a blessing because this bus was able to withstand such a violent impact and protect anyone from getting hurt.
“The people that hit them were not good guys and I think they really appreciated and enjoyed seeing the Pasco County Sheriff’s came out and saved the day,” said Cracchiolo.
Darius Henry, Willie Cuyler, and Cecil Ruffin are all in the Land O’ Lakes detention center facing charges including auto burglary, resisting an officer, and marijuana possession.