A valley bus driver who kept all of her passengers safe during a wrong-way crash received a lifesaving award on Monday night.
The crash happened back in November the day after Thanksgiving. The driver who was traveling in the wrong direction unfortunately, was killed, but all 36 passengers on the Greyhound bus that was hit by that vehicle are okay.
"You really didn't have time to think. Basically you're driving and you just want to do the best thing you can do," said Margarita Bueno.
Bueno received the award for her actions during the fatal wrong-way crash. During those early morning hours, the last thing she remembers was seeing headlights coming straight at her bus on Interstate 10 near Estrella Parkway.
"Well, it makes me feel great. It makes me feel honored, but mostly thankful that the Goodyear Fire Department deemed me worthy to receive this because I never expected something like this from them," she said.
Those headlights were coming from a wrong-way driver. Bueno had no choice but to hit that oncoming car.
"I don't remember, I just remember holding on to the steering wheel because I knew there was going to be an impact," she said.
It was a decision that Deputy Chief Tim Wayne of the Goodyear Fire Department says saved lives.
Goodyear Fire Dept. Chief Paul Luizzi says the death toll would have been far worse if the car hit another vehicle or truck and not Bueno's bus.
"What she was able to do during that high speed impact, tremendous amount of damage to the front end of that bus to the point where there was a missing wheel, so she had one wheel on on the front of that bus and in order to steer that thing off of the freeway and on the side of it.
13 passengers from the bus were transported to an area hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
Bueno says in all her six years of driving, this was the first accident she'd been in and hopes it's her last.