C-Tran honors hero driver

Employer, family recognize John Shreves for locating missing 13-year-old boy

By Andy Matarrese, Columbian Breaking News Reporter

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The bus driver who helped locate a boy with special needs who went missing this summer was honored Monday by his employer and the family he assisted.

John Shreves was on an early morning route Aug. 4 when he noticed a boy on board his bus, according to C-Tran.

Colby Stanridge, 13, had sneaked out of his house, crawled over a fence, walked a few blocks away and hopped on board a Vine bus through the rear door, according to his grandmother, Dionna J’orgensen. The bus ended up at the family’s bank downtown.

Colby has autism and Down syndrome, among other medical issues, and he’d never done anything like that, she said. In addition, he can’t get too far without his wheelchair.

“Waking and realizing he wasn’t there was probably the single most horrific moment of our lives,” she said.

Thankfully, she said, the bus driver had the wherewithal to spot a boy in a plastic combat helmet, tie-dye shirt, vest, tie and slippers out by himself early in the morning and know something was amiss.

Shreves contacted police, who were already out looking for Colby.

Things could have gone very bad very quickly, J’orgensen said. Colby can’t eat or drink orally, so even a polite offer of a drink of water could have put him in grave danger.

“So many things raced through my mind that morning,” she said. “I just didn’t know I had a guardian angel on my shoulder that had my little boy alive and well.”

Afterwards, J’orgensen and Colby made a plaque to thank Shreves. They presented it to him at a short ceremony Monday, while Colby, who is in a performance group, hammed it up for the crowd and cameras at the C-Tran offices.

“I just wanted everyone to know what a good guy John is,” J’orgensen said.

Shreves has been with C-Tran for 10 years, and said part of the ongoing training is aimed at focusing driver awareness.

Something about that morning simply didn’t feel right, he said, so he contacted his dispatcher and kept Colby with the bus.

“One of the biggest keys that they always talk about is being aware of your surroundings. Not just for this, but for criminal activity and stuff like that,” Shreves said. “It’s well-preached that we’re part of the community and we need to help out whenever we can.”