"He must've been running on adrenaline, and his body gave out," Cpl. Shane Copeland said. "He was pretty much done by that point."
A box truck collided into the back of a school bus, and the bus seemed to crumble like paper. The incident took place on August 12 around 3:38 p.m. when a Ryder box truck driven by Johnathon Grayer, 25, collided with the back of a stopped school bus that was unloading students near Alma in Bacon County, a spokesperson for the Georgia State Patrol tells PEOPLE. There were at least 10 students on board at the time, authorities revealed. Grayer immediately jumped out of his vehicle and rushed over to the bus to help the students inside, Cpl. Shane Copeland told CNN.
Footage from the bus's surveillance camera shows Grayer lifting students trapped under the seats and bringing them to safety. However, he collapsed afterward. "He must've been running on adrenaline, and his body gave out," Copeland said. "He was pretty much done by that point." Grayer was immediately rushed to the Bacon County Hospital, according to the Georgia State Patrol. Sadly, he didn't make it. Jerry Sweat, the school bus driver, and three students were taken to the same hospital. Three other children were transported to Shands in Jacksonville, Florida, with non-life-threatening injuries.
Thank you, words can not describe this pain I’m feeling from losing my baby brother😢 He was such a positive force in my life. Well wishes to the children that were involved and may they make a speedy recovery 🙏🏾 pic.twitter.com/3SJ2BAzHTd— Moneta Hampton (@MonetaHampton) August 13, 2020
Authorities believe that the box truck driven by Grayer was traveling between 50 and 60 miles per hour when it rear-ended the bus, WTOC reported. “We try to do the standard procedures on every crash and treat all crashes equally," Copeland told the outlet. "However emotionally, you can’t help but think I’ve got three children and you can’t help but think of your three children on their bus back home and it does make it personal if that makes sense." Georgia governor Brian Kemp tweeted about the accident: Terrible news out of Alma. @GAFirstLady, the girls, and I are praying for the family and loved ones of the truck driver who lost their lives and the students who are injured.
How awful. Prayers to all involved.— Jennyv♥️ 🇺🇸♥️ (@VincentJenny) August 12, 2020
The GSP Specialized Collision Reconstruction Team (SCRT) is currently doing a follow-up investigation. Susan Driscoll shared on Facebook: Man this is so sad. Drivers fault but still, doesn't sound like an intentional accident OE anything. This sounds like he was trying to make it right. Possibly saving those kids. Erin H'eld added: Saddening, he was being a huge heart of kindness and help to the children, and this is what happens, oh so sad. Thoughts and prayers to his family and all others effected by this. If it touches us strangers this much you know it hits them even harder. Debbie Welch posted: My heart breaks for his family, friends and for the kids on the bus. He cleary was a caring and heroic man.
A brave person. He needs big public acknowledgement. Their family and friends should witness his honorable memorial.— Mary Jane (@MaryJanekeao) August 15, 2020
Carrie Siemek questioned: I’m sorry he died and prayers to his family but what was he doing that caused him to slam into a stopped bus at 50-60 miles an hour? I give him props for getting out of that very damaged truck and trying to help the kids he crashed into - he must have been in a lot of pain. Nessa M Paulino shared her own experience: I have worked as a school bus attendant for years. We are all supposed to help the kids get out of the bus if anything happens and the last one who has to get out is the bus driver. A lot of people wouldn't do that so this man is a superhero. Rest in peace.
So very sad, and such a brave man.— SelJay (@Canzaus_Kid) August 15, 2020