For over 30 years, Twin Transit bus driver Peggy Haase has enjoyed interacting with the people who board her bus. She’s witnessed many interesting events from the driver’s seat along the way.
Catching a Crook
One crisp fall day, Twin Transit drivers were alerted by Centralia Police Department to be on the lookout for a suspected bank robber. Haase was driving her bus near Riverside Park, when she spotted a taxicab. She rounded the corner to investigate. From her viewpoint high in the bus, she could see the person in the back seat of the taxi matched the description of the wanted man.
Maybe it’s him, she thought to herself.
She alerted the authorities, who contacted the taxi company. They had just dropped the suspect off at a downtown tavern where he was celebrating his newfound and soon-to-be short-lived cash influx with a few drinks. Haase’s awareness and responsiveness put the brakes on the thief’s larceny.
In the Hot Seat
One warm spring day, Haase was maneuvering the bus southbound near the corner of South and Long Streets in Centralia when she noticed some horses behaving unusually. Upon closer examination, she realized the berserk horses were reacting to a fire in the field. Much to her alarm, the fast-moving flames were devouring the foot-high grass and heading straight for a large barn nearby.
Reacting swiftly, Haase parked the bus, radioed the office and sprang into action. She ran to a nearby house, pounded on the door, and told the homeowner to call the fire department. Then she grabbed the garden hose. She sprayed down the flames, repeatedly soaking the field as the comforting sound of sirens resounded in the distance.
When the fire department arrived, Haase dropped the hose and ran back to the bus, continuing her route. Passengers laughed and joked, “who was that masked man?!” referencing the Lone Ranger, one of Haase’s favorite old television shows.
Her anonymity was short-lived, however. The newspaper printed an article about her valiant actions. After reading it, the grateful homeowner reached out and thanked her personally. Haase’s impromptu firefighting averted catastrophe.
“I used to live down Long Road and loved that barn,” says Haase, recalling her childhood growing up in Centralia. “I just didn’t want people’s stuff or animals to burn.”
Haase and her fellow Twin Transit drivers often go above and beyond the call of duty. These unsung heroes make sure local residents get where they need to go safely – and occasionally, they save the day.