'I saw a man trapped inside:' Common Council honors MCTS driver who helped after crash

MILWAUKEE -- Shannon Johnson, a Milwaukee County Transit System bus driver, was honored by the Milwaukee Common Council Tuesday, March 26 for his actions following a rollover crash in November 2018.

"This man needs to trade in his jacket for a red cape! The next time you have trouble, look for the Milwaukee County Transit System symbol, not the bat light in the sky. This is becoming a very regular thing to be recognizing bus drivers for the incredible work that they do," said Ashanti Hamilton, Common Council president.

Johnson witnessed the crash in front of his bus. Surveillance video from Johnson's bus showed a vehicle ran a red light and hit an SUV at the intersection of Fond du Lac and Center in Milwaukee. The SUV flipped over and came to rest along the sidewalk.

Shannon Johnson

Johnson called what happened next instinct. After the crash happened, there were audible gasps from bus passengers.

"It was so early in the morning. The only thing that I could think of was that an SUV was probably taking kids to school. Somebody in the car needs help," said Johnson.

While MCTS dispatchers contacted authorities, officials say Johnson jumped out of his bus and ran towards the smoking vehicle.

"As I approached the car, I saw a man trapped inside. I kept asking him if there were any kids in the car. He said "no," that he was the only one," said Johnson.

That prompted Johnson and other witnesses to work together to pry open the door. The man was then able to climb out, moments before paramedics arrived.

No one involved in the crash was seriously injured.

After the crash, Johnson said people approached him about it.

"The next day, one of my normal riders congratulated me for trying to help the person. That felt kind of good," said Johnson.

His kids, however, weren't all that impressed.

"I don't know if they quite gripped exactly what happened. It was just like, 'okay Dad,'" said Johnson.