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7's HERO: Boise mom of YMCA camper injured in bus rollover shares harrowing story

Taryn Johnson said her 13-year-old daughter Macayla is now recovering at home, and she is so grateful for the many heroes that came to their rescue that day.

BOISE, Idaho — On Friday, August 4th, a Treasure Valley YMCA summer camp bus rolled on Highway 55 on the way home to Boise. 

Many campers were injured and taken by ambulance or helicopter to local hospitals. 

It was truly terrifying for the campers, and for their parents -- who were waiting for their kids in the YMCA parking lot in downtown Boise. Taryn Johnson was one of those parents. 

"I was sitting in the YMCA parking lot for awhile, and awhile turned into a lot longer. Then chatter started happening amongst the parents, and we had heard that there was a crash. It was pretty scary, just the not knowing is scary," Taryn said. "It was just chaos." 

She was so worried about her 13-year-old daughter Macayla. She knew she had her cell phone with her, so she started frantically calling and texting her.

"I tried to call her, and she didn't answer, so there was full-fledged panic there," she said.  

Taryn said she tracked Macayla on her phone with a family app that showed her location. 

"I saw her bubble, and I called my husband and said her bubble is moving, there's been a crash," she said, with tears in her eyes. "So, my husband got in his truck and went and found her bubble, and he said 'yes, she's in an ambulance,' and he said, 'the lights are on.'" 

Taryn said is was an incredibly scary thing to go through. At the time she was thinking, was her daughter okay? They had no idea. 

Her husband, Jason, followed the ambulance. He said that he had no idea what to expect as he followed it to St. Luke's Hospital in Boise. 

"Jason was there right as the ambulance was pulling up, so he got to see her right then and there. At that point he texted she was alive, she was going to be okay," she said. "She was awake, she was terrified, and she wasn't making a lot of sense. They had her in a neck brace and it was scary, but she was alive. She's got a fractured collar bone and a concussion. All the kids walked away alive, and that is quite a miracle, there were guardian angels watching over them. It gets me choked up just thinking about it, and it's still so fresh. It was the craziest day of my life."

As the Johnson's scrambled to the hospital, another type of emergency was about to unfold.

Earlier, when Taryn had gone to pick Macayla up from the YMCA that day, she had been getting dinner ready. 

"I had chicken stock simmering on the stove," she said. 

In all the chaos of the bus rollover, Taryn forgot about the chicken stock. Her house filled with smoke and the fire alarm went off.  

"As I was pulling into the emergency room parking lot, I get a phone call from an unknown number, so I answer my phone and it was the Boise fire department," she said. 

Boise Fire told her about what had happened at her house, and she told them about Macayla being one of the campers in the bus rollover. Taryn said, at that point, word had spread through the community about the crash. 

She said the person at the fire department told her not to worry about the fire and that they would handle everything.

According to the family's doorbell camera, that is just what some firefighters did. 

"A group of firemen, they came, they blew the house out and they brought fans," she said.

They also left the family a note on the refrigerator. She said it made her and her husband tear up when they read it. 

"So sorry to hear about the accident, we pray that your kid is okay. We put a replacement chicken and salad in your fridge. Take care, Boise Fire 2/C,"

"That was seriously the coolest thing ever," Taryn told KTVB. 

The Johnsons said they were so touched by the gesture. 

"What an amazing community we live in, and I am just so thankful," Taryn said. "Nothing is damaged, everything is intact, a little smoke smell but that's to be expected. It could have been so much worse." 

Macayla is now home from the hospital, and she's healing physically and emotionally. 

"Macayla has been getting spoiled with flowers and cookies and lots of well wishes from people who love her," she said. "Everyone's been so supportive, even people on Facebook from across the nation. It's been kind of cool for Macayla to know that people care, there's a lot of love out there." 

Taryn said that her family is so grateful for all of their heroes on that scary day. 

"What could have been the worst day ever times a million, ended up being beautiful and everybody's okay," Taryn said.

The family wants to thank the first responders and EMS who helped Macayla and the other campers right after the rollover, the hospital staff at St. Luke's, the neighbors who called 911, the Boise Fire Department, and of course, the outpouring of love and support from the community. 

As we reported this week, all the injured campers are now home from the hospital with their families. 

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