Alberta Lieutenant Governor Lois Mitchell (left), Kurt Stenberg, Kate Stenberg and Christal Stenberg pose after Kurt was recognized for his actions stopping an impaired school bus driver in May. (Photo contributed by Eric Stenberg)

Alberta Lieutenant Governor Lois Mitchell (left), Kurt Stenberg, Kate Stenberg and Christal Stenberg pose after Kurt was recognized for his actions stopping an impaired school bus driver in May. (Photo contributed by Eric Stenberg)

Red Deer firefighter who stopped drunk school bus driver honoured for bravery

It seemed only fitting that Kurt Stenberg’s daughter shared a moment in the sun for her father’s bravery.

The Red Deer firefighter and EMT was off-duty and unbuckling Kate, four, from her car seat in early May when a school bus hit a tree and speed-limit sign. Stenberg acted quickly and confronted the bus driver near his Vanier Woods home.

On Friday, he was recognized by the Royal Canadian Humane Association at their bravery awards held at Edmonton Police Services headquarters. Kate was given a pin from Alberta Lieutenant Governor Lois Mitchell, while Stenberg received a certificate.

“Felt pretty special going up there,” said Stenberg. “I originally expected to drive behind the bus and call in a hit-and-run and follow it until the police came.”

Stenberg ran out into the middle of the road “kind of angry,” the driver didn’t stop and pointed to get her to pull over.

“I don’t think she saw me,” he said.

He jumped in his truck, pulled a U-turn and went down the street after the bus. He caught a glimpse of it in a close in Vanier Woods and approached it.

“The driver was drowsy-looking and a little confused,” said Stenberg. “She was barely able to open the swing doors. She was so disoriented.”

He called 911, talked with the kids on the bus who quickly told him it was their bus who hit the tree and road sign. He put the bus into park and his wife blocked the back to prevent the bus from leaving.

“Once the bus stopped and we pulled in front of it, it was very similar to what we’d do at work,” he said.

He’s received some gifts and recognition from neighbours for what he did as well.

Shelley Kolodychuk pleaded guilty in September to driving while having a blood alcohol level over 0.08. She was sentenced to 45 days in custody, 12 months probation and a 12-month driving prohibition.

The awards aim to recognize heroism by Canadians in civilian life, who, through their alertness, skill and concern, save or attempt to save a life.



mcrawford@reddeeradvocate.com

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