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School bus hero went 'above and beyond'

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November 18, 2009 - Brandon Twp.- Patrick Lewis was riding home on the school bus the afternoon of Nov. 11 when he turned his head to look behind him, where his friend, Curtis Tucker, was sitting. Patrick turned to the front again, and doesn't remember the next four minutes.

Tucker will likely never forget it.

As he watched, Patrick suddenly began convulsing, with his head striking the glass bus window repeatedly. Curtis, who remembered that his friend had epilepsy and a problem with seizures, reacted quickly, moving Patrick's head away from the window as he yelled for bus driver Karen Barnowsky to call 9-1-1. He then reached in his friend's pocket, took out Patrick's cell phone and called his father.

"It lasted for a minute," said Curtis of the seizure. "It seemed like a long time, but it wasn't. I though he was going to die and I was scared for him more than anything."

Barnowsky moved all the kids off the bus, except for Curtis, who wouldn't leave his friend's side.

"Curtis really did good for me," said Barnowsky, who in 20 years of driving a school bus had never before encountered a medical emergency in a student. "I think he's awesome, I'm very proud of him. Now everyday when he gets off the bus, he gives me a high five."

Patrick's father and Brandon firefighter/medics arrived within minutes. Patrick regained consciousness on the way to the hospital, and has recovered from the seizure. Doctors plan to do more tests and increase medications for the Brandon High School junior, who hadn't had a seizure since April.

"The doctors said that Patrick could have had a concussion if Curtis hadn't stopped him from hitting his head," Geoge Lewis said.

"I think Curtis went out of his way, and above and beyond."

Curtis is just happy that Patrick, whom he's been friends with since seventh grade, is all right.

Patrick thinks a lot of people wouldn't have done what Curtis did.

"He's a good friend," said Patrick.

"Heck yeah, I am," says Curtis, grinning.

Susan covers Brandon Township and Ortonville
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