Passenger saves bus from full-on collision

When a bus driver took suddenly ill on Saturday, causing the vehicle to cross over into the wrong lane, passenger Patricia Claesson quickly grabbed hold of the wheel and drove the bus into a ditch, thereby avoiding a full-on collision.

Even so, she’s reluctant to call herself a heroine.

“No, I definitely don’t think so,” she said to news agency TT.

Patricia Claesson works as an assistant in Alseda congregation, in southern Sweden.

Together with some twenty teenagers from the congregation, she was headed to Ullared shopping centre for some Christmas shopping on Saturday’s.

On the highway just west of Vetlanda, she noticed that the bus had crossed over to the wrong lane.

Making her way up to the driver’s seat to inquire what he was up to, she realized that he was unresponsive, and when she looked out on the road, she saw heavy vehicles approaching rapidly.

“I grabbed the wheel and managed to turn right, and so the bus drove down into a ditch, she said.

Police officer Lars-Gunnar Rydholm in nearby Jönköping is full of praise for the congregational assistant’s level-headed actions, which he describes as an admirable achievement.

And the congregation’s minister, Håkan Rosén, who has called a meeting on Tuesday for all those involved in the accident to meet and talk, was equally impressed by Patricia Claesson’s actions.

“Her presence of mind is fantastic,” he said to TT.

However, Claesson, reluctant to accept this title, played down her feat.

“I just did what you’re supposed to do,” she said.

When the bus was in the ditch, flipped over on its side, Patricia Claesson continued to take charge, despite having hurt her head and back in the crash.

“There was smoke coming from up front, so I made my way there and turned the engine off. You never know,” she said.

“Then we all helped each other out of the bus. That went calmly, I wanted the kids to feel safe.”

Emergency services and police were quickly on the scene, but by then Patricia Claesson had already got almost everybody out.

She, the driver and a 15 year-old girl were then taken to the Högland hospital in nearby Eksjö for treatment, where the driver had to stay on overnight for observation.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


Swedish police no longer investigating terror motives in Vetlanda attack

UPDATED: Swedish police are set to hold a press conference on Thursday after a man stabbed and injured seven people in the town of Vetlanda.

police cordons in Vetlanda
Police on Wednesday evening, at the scene of the violent incident in Vetlanda. Photo: Mikael Fritzon/TT

A police statement early on Thursday revised the number of injured in the attack to seven from eight, and police later said they were no longer investigating possible terror motives. 

The suspect, who is in his twenties, was taken to hospital after being shot in the leg by police following the mid-afternoon attack on Wednesday in the southern city of 13,000 inhabitants.

Speaking to AFP, police said the man had used a “sharp weapon”, while local media reported that he had brandished a knife.

Police initially treated the incident as “attempted murder” but later changed it in a statement to include a “suspected terrorist crime”, without giving further details. Now the man has been detained on suspicion of several accounts of attempted murder, but police are no longer investigating the incident as suspected terrorism.

Three of those attacked were said to have suffered life-threatening injuries, while two others were in serious condition. All five required intensive care treatment, according to information coming out of the hospital in Jönköping where they were being treated. 

The victims were aged between 20 and 70, according to local newspaper Jnytt.

The Swedish intelligence service Säpo will still be involved in the investigation, but have not taken over the case, as happens with suspected terrorism crimes.

The suspect was a 22-year-old resident of the area and previously known to police, but in the past had only been suspected of “petty crimes”. Police did not specify if he was a Swedish citizen.

“We are working intensively and will have lots of resources going forward. We would also really like to come into contact with anyone who has information on the incident. That is also one reason why we cannot come out with a lot of details at the moment,” local police chief Malena Grann told The Local on Wednesday evening about the next step in the investigation.

As of Thursday morning, police said they had been able to carry out an initial questioning with the man overnight, after he received treatment for his injuries at hospital.

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven condemned the “horrific violence” in a statement published on his Facebook page.

“We face these despicable actions with the combined force of the community,” Löfven said.

“We are reminded of how frail our safe existence is,” Löfven added, encouraging people to have the victims in their thoughts, as well as health workers and police tending to wounded and working to restore peace.

According to the police report, the first emergency calls about the attack came in shortly before 3pm on Wednesday, with the first patrol arriving on the scene at 3.10pm. Police said that the suspect was located three minutes after the first patrol arrived, and that the armed man was shot and arrested.

Police have scheduled a press conference for 3pm on Thursday.