NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A Staten Island man was one of two people killed in a Colorado bus crash.
The man, studying to be a priest, is now being remembered as a hero after he took steps that saved others.
“One or several of them said please tell Jason’s family that they are only here… because of what he did,” the hero’s mother, Diane Marshall said.
What Jason Marshall did on a charter bus returning from a church retreat on Sunday in Colorado was rush to the aid of a driver in distress.
“When he saw that there was some problem… he ran immediately up, grabbed the wheel, and tried to straighten the bus out, but I guess it was a little too late. It hit two embankments but it did not roll over and went down into the gully,” Marshall explained.
Authorities say 13 people survived, but Marshall and the bus driver were killed.
“I’m going to miss him. We’re all going to miss him,” his mother said.
At his family’s home in Staten Island, where he grew up, Marshall’s parents and three siblings are remembering a life dedicated to God.
They say the 53-year-old felt a call to the priesthood later in life and was in the middle of his seminary training.
According to his family, Marshall had an out-of-body experience nearly 17 years ago on the slopes of Vermont, following a snow shoe accident that nearly killed him. He talked about his calling from God to become a priest in a YouTube video.
“This wasn’t my idea. This is what I tell people. It was God’s idea. That’s how vocation works. God calls, and it’s up to us to accept,” Jason Marshall said in his video.
“He probably saw what was happening on the bus, and he tried to save the day,” the hero’s brother, Jeffrey Marshall said.
“I’m grateful that I had my son with me for 53 years and I only wish it could have been longer, and I hope that he’s in heaven and watching down on all of us,” his mother added.
The cause of the crash is still under investigation. Police are determining whether the driver may have had a seizure or other medical episode.