She slammed the foot brake and yanked the emergency brake, saving nine kids on board coming home from the Magic Carpet Summer Camp.
"The bus driver, he fell over," camper Sabrina Consigilia said. "And our bus counselor just stopped the bus and everybody started screaming."
Ramone Salvador Fernandez, 59, who worked with the camp for 16 years, suffered a heart attack from natural causes. Hours earlier, while waiting for the kids to finish bowling, he appeared normal.
"Everything seemed fine at the bowling alley a few hours before this all happened," camp director Andy Foss said.
"I said to Rachel this morning, out of darkness comes the light," camp owner David Tawill said. "His gift to you is that he left you in charge for a moment. You had three seconds to react, and you discovered. So even in his death, he gave you something."
The owners would like to think Fernandez made a last-ditch effort to throw himself out the door and out of the way, so that Rachel could have the room to get in and stop the bus.
WEB PRODUCED BY: Bill King
NEW YORK AND TRI-STATE AREA NEWS