Bus driver rescues woman off railroad tracks

December 17, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
A school bus driver is being honored in Redwood City for springing into action when he saw an elderly woman in danger.

When you hear the alarm of the train track gates, you have about 29 seconds until the train shows up. Doug Johnson used almost every one of those seconds when he ran out in front of a Caltrain and pulled 67-year-old Mary Margaret Flynn and her dog "Miggs" from the tracks.

"When I got to her she said 'Help, help, help' and I said 'Look, we don't have time to talk. I got to get you off these tracks,'" recalled Johnson.

Mary Margaret fell down on the tracks while crossing on Whipple Avenue in Redwood City. Johnson was driving his San Carlos school bus at the time and saw her fall.

"She went down very hard. It was really a spill," said Johnson.

He was surprised to see that she wasn't moving. What he didn't know was-- Mary Margaret had a broken arm.

"I tried to push myself up and I could not push myself up, and I started yelling 'Help me, help me,'" said Mary Margaret.

When she got to the tracks it was safe to cross the gate was open, but right after she fell down, the gate arms came down and the signal started going off. Neither one of them thinks she would have safely made it off those tracks without some help.

"There's no doubt in my mind that Mr. Johnson saved my life," said Mary Margaret.

After he pulled her to safety, witnesses soothed her and Johnson drove away. The incident happened on Tuesday. She finally hunted him down through the San Carlos School District and reunited with him on Thursday. Mary Margaret wanted a picture with her hero. She gave Johnson a heartfelt card of thanks.

"I'm going to put that card in my scrapbook and it will hopefully stay in my family for generations," said Johnson.

"I will have him in my thoughts and prayers for the rest of my life. I will never forget him," said Mary Margaret.


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