Indian Trails veterans honored for safely going the distance
Presented by Prevost, the BUSRide Safe Driver Hall of Fame recognizes three more million-mile veteran drivers for Indian Trails, Inc., Owosso, MI. This family-owned motorcoach operator has honored its million-mile safe drivers for 27 years. All have gone the distance without an avoidable accident.
Ernest Nieman drove coaches part time for 10 years while running his own barber shop. Once he chose the highway over hair, he landed with the Indian Trails company in 1990 after a chance meeting with fellow million-mile driver Carl Briggs who inspired Nieman to change jobs.
After 26 years, Nieman has traveled to nearly every state and throughout much of Canada. Somewhere out on the open road in 2005, he hit his million-mile mark.
“I like driving, being on the move and working with people,” Nieman says. “There’s an independence that almost feels like I’m self-employed – without the expenses, but still accountable.”
Chad Schwab, a 31-year veteran, helped launch the Michigan Flyer affiliate and continues as “the old man on the totem pole,” as he often jokes.
Schwab is particularly proud of the friendships he’s made with his passengers from China attending Michigan State University, who inspired him to learn Mandarin Chinese in order to correctly pronounce their names. In 2011, he travelled to China to visit some of the friends he’d made, and says it has been fun to surprise Chinese passengers with his knowledge of their language.
In 2005, Schwab knew he was closing in on one million miles – but when he asked, he was surprised to learn he’d already surpassed the mark by 200,000 miles.
Jerry VanDeusen has driven for Indian Trails and Michigan Flyer since 1995, and reached one million miles without a preventable accident in 2014.
VanDeusen says the best part of his job is meeting people from all walks of life and helping first-time travelers. He is among the experienced Indian Trails drivers who train new recruits.
“I had great training and preparation for my job, and I want to pass that along,” he says. “I train drivers to always keep their eyes on the road and the safety of their passengers in mind.”
help in keeping him and his passengers safe on the road.
That, coupled with the Golden Rule helped him reach “million-mile safe” status in 2014.