Quick-thinking Naselle bus driver averts tragedy

First-grader Marie Nerton may owe her life to bus driver Diane Mattson of Naselle.

NASELLE - Veteran school bus driver Diane Mattson of Naselle averted a tragedy by her quick thinking and actions taken last week as she was driving her school bus route to the Nemah area.

Naselle-Grays River School Superintendent Alan Bennett said, "We had a near tragedy averted today by the quick thinking of veteran bus driver Diane Mattson, of Naselle. At the bus stop in Nemah, Diane stopped to let off a first grader, Marie Nerton.

Just then, an alleged drunk driver approached the bus and failed to yield. Diane yelled for the student to stop. Due to the good relationship between the bus driver and the child, the student immediately stopped in her tracks. The driver erratically drove through the scene and later went into a ditch."

Marie's grandmother, Marilyn Mobley, said, "Thanks goodness for Diane Mattson. I credit the bus driver for averting a tragedy." Grandfather Bill Mobley added, "The Mobley's appreciate the professionalism of our bus drivers. If she (Mattson) hadn't acted as she did, who knows what would have happened. If the state has recognition that they give out for this kind of thing, we would recommend that she receive some type of award."

Mattson explained the incident in this manner, "I didn't do anything that any of the other bus drivers wouldn't have done. We are trained by Ed (Engelson, the Naselle Transportation Supervisor) on how to do things and we train our riders.

"When Marie got off the bus, I noticed this mini-van coming toward us and it didn't look like it was going to stop. I motioned to her and told her to wait to cross the highway in front of the bus. Marie stopped and waited and the car went right through my flashing lights and stop sign. I called Ed on the radio and he called the State Patrol. Apparently, the State Patrol took that driver into custody when they found him in the ditch down the road."

Bennett said that the Naselle-Grays River School Board will give recognition to Mattson at the next school board meeting on Nov. 15.

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