LAFAYETTE, Tenn. (WKRN) — No one was safe as a runaway driver raced through a homecoming parade with kids just feet away. Then, a heroic deputy put his life on the line.

A teacher at the scene now realizes how differently this story could’ve ended. She’s one of many people thanking a Macon County deputy who used his car to save lives.

What was supposed to be a fun Friday afternoon went south in a matter of minutes.

During a homecoming parade, an erratic driver — identified as 53-year-old James Corum — broke through barriers along the route into a crowded area filled with students, teachers and families.

It was a close call for Brittany Johns, a teacher in the Macon County School District.

“It was a day that I will never forget, our kids won’t forget,” Johns said. “She just hugged me when I walked in the door and she said, ‘Brittany, I don’t think you realize how close it was.’ She said, ‘you were so lucky.’ You literally took one step back and you were almost hit.”

She says the black car raced past them.

“I happen to look to my right and I see this black car and he’s swerving and flying, and I mean flying,” Johns said.

Seconds later, Deputy Aaron Shipley used his vehicle to ram the driver.

“If Aaron wouldn’t have hit him head on the way that he did,” Johns said. “It would have been mass casualties, injuries.”

It was a selfless act the Macon County Sheriff says no doubt saved lives.

“Through the selfless sacrifice of the school resource officer to stop the vehicle with zero injuries to any children,” said Joey Wilburn

Not only did Deputy Shipley put his life on the line, but the sheriff says dozens of others did so as well.

⏩ Read today’s top stories on

“All the teachers, staff, all of their selfless action to get them out of the way,” Wilburn said.