A Kansas City Royals pitcher sprang into action and helped steer his team’s charter bus to safety after a chunk of ice shattered the windshield and injured the driver.
The Royals were travelling from an airport in Toronto to the team hotel early Monday morning, in advance of their three-game series with the Toronto Blue Jays, when a basketball-sized chunk of ice from the team bus in front smashed into the windshield of the one behind.
“I sort of ducked, and I thought it was snow,” said driver Fred Folkerts. “The whole window was shattered and pushed in. There was glass all on my head and my face.”
In an interview with CTV Toronto, cuts were still visible on Folkerts’ scalp. Nevertheless, he got back behind the wheel again on Tuesday, newly dubbed a “hero” by members of the Royals team.
“I’d classify these guys as my heroes,” he insisted, but reluctantly accepted the label the athletes have given him. “I guess we can argue that point,” he said with a laugh, but added he was mostly just focused on doing his job when the ice hit the windshield.
Drew Butera, catcher for the Royals, said the bus was heading under an overpass when they noticed something flying off the bus in front of them.
“It looked like huge piece of snow that you’ve seen a million times hit your car and disappear, but as soon as it hit, (there was a) loud bang that threw us all for a shock,” he told CP24 on Tuesday. “We didn’t know what the heck was going on.”
Royals relief pitcher Blaine Boyer then grabbed the wheel from the injured driver and directed the bus to safety until the driver could regain composure.
Boyer said Folkerts had shrapnel “all over his face,” but was able to calmly bring the bus to a stop.
“(There’s) a lot of people saying that I did something that was heroic which is just ridiculous,” he told reporters on Tuesday. “If anybody’s a hero, it’s Fred…not me, I’m just trying to get outs.”
“I’m surprised they’re calling me a hero, it was just natural instinct that I kept the bus in line and going,” he said. “I wanted to make sure everything was fine.”
Folkerts said he’d never seen anything like it in his career as a bus driver.
Boyer was able to thank Folkerts for his actions as he was once again the team’s driver on Tuesday.
“If he could be our personal bus driver forever, I’d love it,” Boyer said.
Turns out Monday’s incident wasn’t the only time the Royals’ trip to Toronto was derailed by falling ice. Monday’s game with the Blue Jays was postponed after a chunk of ice fell from the CN Tower, smashing through the roof of the Rogers Centre. To make up for the postponement, the Royals and Blue Jays will play a doubleheader on Tuesday.
Members of the Royals team also witnessed other incidents involving falling ice in Toronto. After eating at a sushi restaurant, they saw three large chunks of ice hit a parked cab.
“Man this is nuts,” said Boyer. “You Canadians are crazy. Ya’ll live with this day in and day out.”
With a report from CTV Toronto’s Scott Lightfoot