10 years later: NFTA driver reflects on heroic rescue

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — It’s been ten years since an NFTA employee sprang into action to save a life. News 4 spoke with Darnell Barton about the day that changed his life after he spotted a distraught woman while driving his normal route.

“Prior to that event I was waiting for the one event to define my purpose,” said Barton. “I have now come to realize that purpose is every single day.”

On Oct. 18, 2013, surveillance footage captured the moment a life was saved and another life changed forever.

Barton stopped the NFTA bus he had driven for three years to help a woman hanging on the outside of an overpass guardrail. Cars sped by below on the Scajacquada Expressway.

“I didn’t want to focus on the problem, why are you up here? What are you doing? I just asked do you know that where you are is unsafe? She was like yeah,” added Barton. “That kind of opened a regular dialogue between two people.”

Barton called for assistance and stepped off the bus.

He helped the woman to safety and sat with her until police arrived.

The now 46-year-old said he hasn’t spoken to the woman since that day ten years ago but thinks of her often.

“The shift in the conversation about mental health is positive,” said Barton. “The shift in personal healing all those those things are in the forefront.”

Barton can’t stress enough the importance of having important conversations around mental health.

He said working on his own wellbeing has become a priority since this incident.

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If you or someone you know is experiencing a crisis, help is available now. Erie County’s Crisis Hotline is available 24 hours a day: 716-834-3131. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is also available 24 hours a day: Simply call or text 988, or chat at For more information, visit

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Patrick Ryan is an award-winning reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2020. See more of his work here and follow him on Twitter.

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