By Ken MacLeod

GROVELAND (CBS) – A 27-year-old Haverhill man is facing several charges for illegally passing and then sideswiping a stopped school bus — during an incident that had kids and parents scrambling out of the way.

Doreen Bourdelais had just put her granddaughter on the school bus in Groveland Tuesday morning, when she spotted a landscaping truck careening down Salem Street.

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“It’s eight o’clock in the morning,” says Bourdelais, “and I’m thinking ‘Has this guy been drinking?’ I just couldn’t figure it out.”

But it was only seconds until things took a scarier turn. Video from inside the school bus shows the bus arriving at the next stop just a few houses away.

When it comes to a stop, you can hear a loud crunch as the bus shakes… and the landscaping truck goes past it on the right — veering up onto the sidewalk.

“I heard the tires screeching,” says Bourdelais, “and spun around to see the truck shooting past the bus on the sidewalk. And then it just kept going. I was horrified.”

A father who was standing at the bus stop — waiting with his daughter and another child — grabbed both kids and yanked them out of the truck’s path — before it swerved back onto the road and sped away.

That heroic Dad told WBZ he didn’t want to talk about it.

“A father’s fast action is the only thing that got those kids out of harm’s way,” says Groveland Police Sgt. Steven Petrone.

Nine-year-old Alyssa Barrera was one of just a few kids already on the bus.

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“I was talking with my friend,” she says, “and bang — this happened out of nowhere.”

Witnesses and nearby surveillance video eventually led police to SLS Landscape in Rowley where they quickly identified the driver. They did not name him. But he’s been charged leaving the scene of an accident, reckless driving, driving on a suspended license, and failure to stop for a school bus.

The company released a statement, saying the driver no longer works at SLS Landscape.

As some of you may have seen on the news, an unfortunate event took place on Tuesday and a company vehicle was involved in a hit and run incident with a school bus in Groveland. We were all very disturbed to hear about the accident and extremely relieved that nobody was hurt. The employee driving the truck was a new employee to SLS and is no longer employed with our company. Our sincerest apologies to the families affected by this incident.

Fortunately, no one on the bus — or waiting for it — was hurt.

But it was very close.

“We could be looking at something very different from what happened,” says Sgt. Petrone. “Hopefully, this will serve as a cautionary tale.”

Police say distracted driving was at least part of the problem here — although that doesn’t explain why the driver didn’t stop.

“I have no idea,” says Doreen Bourdelais with disgust in her voce. “Today’s world.”

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Bourdelais offered to drive her granddaughter to school that day. But the little girl insisted she wanted to ride the bus.

Ken MacLeod