High school senior awarded after heroic bus crash reaction

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PARIS, Tex. (KXII) -- Deri'yas Wilson, or Dee as he's known, says he woke up last Friday with a funny feeling.

He boarded the bus and saw there was a substitute driver.

"She over-corrected it and then last thing you know, it's just bump bump bump then boom...I watched the whole thing happen, like, I heard people screaming and flying everywhere. I could feel it," said Wilson.

The bus had hit a tree head on.

"Trust me, I wanted to cry too, I wanted to panic. But I had to be like, 'bro chill, you've got to do something," said Wilson.

So Dee went to work, opening the emergency exit, filing kids off the bus, even helping the driver who had injured her back in the crash and turning off the bus.

"If it wasn't for him stepping up, we wouldn't know where the accident location was at," said North Lamar Director of Transportation Clint Hildreth.

Dee guided first responders to the rural county road where they were using the bus' radio because no one had cell phone signal.

"I took it, I was like okay, we' re here or whatever. And you know, within 15 minutes, there's tow trucks, firefighters, ambulance. People everywhere," said Wilson.

"When we arrived on scene, Dee had everyone out. He was giving us information over the radio. He did a great job," said North Lamar chief of Police Mike Boaz.

Dee says his family moved to Paris from New Orleans in 2005 because of Hurricane Katrina and credits his ability to keep calm with knowing what disaster feels like.

"I think that and a lot of other stuff make me how I am, like how my mom raised me," said Wilson.

Administrators say this is nothing new for Dee.

"A few years ago, I've seen him step in when kids needed help up and down the hallways at North Lamar High School," said Hildreth.

"I honest to goodness wouldn't expect any different. Yes, very proud of him," said Boaz.

He has been honored by the North Lamar School Board and the Boys and Girls Club, where he works, for his heroic acts.

"To say people have problems, they'd rather drink, smoke, party, you know. Get over it. That ain't the way," said Wilson.

His actions that day have even inspired administrators to implement new leadership systems on the buses in case of emergencies like this.

"There's a lot of great kids out there making good decisions that want to make their community, their school better and he's one of them that's been doing that," said Hildreth.

Dee says he recognizes the responsibility he has to set a good example and takes it seriously.

"I don't care what it is, like if I've got to do this for somebody or do that, I'm going to do it just because that's how it should be. People need people, they really do," said Wilson.