The Montville Police Department released dramatic dashcam video footage showing multiple cameras from the truck and the school bus when the incident happened last Tuesday morning.
In the video from the truck's front dashcam, the distressed driver can be heard saying, "Stop stop stop! No!" as he realized his brakes had failed while approaching the bus.
The driver then sounded the horn in an effort to alert the bus driver and other drivers who had stopped for the school bus. One SUV behind the bus pulled into the grass, while a pickup truck in the oncoming lane backed up, rear-ending the vehicle behind it, in an effort to give the tractor-trailer more room to get around the school bus.
Onboard the bus, one woman could be heard saying, "Oh good God, he ain't gonna make it!" as they heard the truck's approaching horn.
"In his statement, [the truck driver] told us that he was trying to stop. He realized he couldn’t stop in time and he began down-shifting, blowing the horn, hitting the lights, flashing the lights and doing everything in his power to alert everyone, the oncoming traffic the car behind the school bus and the bus that he’s coming through and he’s not going to be able to stop," Montville Police Chief Matt Neil told FOX 8.
The driver's efforts worked. The truck was able to narrowly pass through the gap without hitting any of the other vehicles.
"He did an excellent job in fifteen seconds he had to put that 80,000-pound rig somewhere, and he was able to thread that needle and do it without injuring or hitting anything," the police chief said.
The truck was eventually able to slow to a stop about a quarter of a mile away. The Ohio State Highway Patrol is investigating the incident, with a focus on the truck's inspections and maintenance.
"Thanks to the quick and professional actions of the truck driver, what would have been a major crisis was avoided and many lives were likely saved," police wrote on their Facebook page.