Eric Stark drives a bus once again after recovering from bullet wound
A King County Metro bus driver could not have asked for a better road to recovery. Ever since he survived a bullet to his chest, Eric Stark says he’s been blessed by family, a wealth of new friends, and a reaffirmed faith.
Stark got back behind the wheel again Tuesday. When he parked his bus at the Northgate Transit Center, it signified the end of a two-and-half-month-long journey.
“Back in the saddle, I feel pretty good, I remember how to drive a bus,” he said.
A bullet pierced Stark’s chest while he was driving through Seattle’s Lake City Neighborhood in March. A shooter was targeting cars as they passed. He was bleeding between his heart and left shoulder, but still managed to drive his passengers to safety and call for help. Days later, Stark spoke from his hospital room.
“I did the best thing I can do at the time, and thank God nobody on my bus was hurt,” he said.
The weeks that followed brought Stark national attention and a King County medal of heroism. There was a standing ovation at a Seattle firefighters luncheon. Not to mention speeches by state senators.
“Thinking first of the passengers in his bus ad moving them out of the way to safety is really amazing,” said State Senator Jesse Salomon.
In Stark’s honor, more than $12,000 was raised to cover his medical bills via a GoFundMe account. The outpouring of support overwhelmed Stark, a former pastor, as he returned to work.
“It’s been wonderful, it’s been a great reminder of how good God has been to our family through the people we’ve met and the connections we’ve maintained,” he said. “It’s fantastic to know we have so many friends and family who love us and support us.”
One of Stark’s newest friends joined him yesterday on his first trip back on the job. Danae Wright was one of the passengers on his bus, when he was shot.
“He is an amazing guy,” Wright said. “In that moment, seeing somebody be so selfless, he didn’t hesitate to get that bus out of the way. Just to know he cared more about the safety of others, speaks a lot to his character.”
Wright considers him a hero. Though Stark doesn’t throw that word around. But ask his wife and eight-year-old-daughter — they’ll say otherwise.
“Yeah, I think he did a really amazing thing that day,” Stark’s wife said.
There is one title Eric Stark can’t deny, however. He was just nominated King County Operator of the Month.