One of the most famous bridges in Starke County might be abandoned. The bridge over Eagle Creek on 600 East at County Road 25 North was recommended to be closed by engineering firm, Beam, Longest and Neff. If abandoned, the bridge would be turned over to the farmers in the area who use it, and they would be in charge of maintenance to be able to get their farm equipment over the structure. It would not be open to traffic.
On April 29th one year, the bus driver of Knox Community School bus 13 apparently blacked out at the wheel, when he failed to make a scheduled turn going over the fragile wooden bridge. The bus tore away the bridge railing on one side and pulled apart planks as it crossed. At the time, it was said it was amazing the bus did not plunge into the creek. After crossing the bridge, the bus traveled 205 feet into a field.
Quick action by John Waldron, a passenger on the bus, prevented almost serious injury to the 25 kids on board. When he noticed what was happening, Waldron raced to the front of the bus, pulled the driver’s foot from the accelerator, put the bus gear into neutral and braked it to safety. For his efforts, Waldron became an instant hero, and was featured on network TV including ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
Because the bus had a camera on it, film of the event was recorded. It was seen on television in Europe and the far east as students were bouncing up and down in their seats.