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ABQ resident a finalist for ‘Mom of the Year’

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Rhonda Carlsen is getting some national attention – again.

Carlsen, an Albuquerque resident, is a finalist for “Mom of the Year” on the “Steve Harvey Show.”

She was nominated by her 12-year-old daughter, Lauren, for her heroic turn in stopping a school bus full of students after the driver suffered a seizure back in February 2012.

“I’m so thankful to have a mom like her and I’m inspired from her story to help people in the future,” said Lauren.

Carlsen and her neighbor, Julie Green, waited for their children to board a school bus bound for nearby Seven Bar Elementary and saw the bus roll right past them.

After Carlsen’s daughter ran alongside it and yelled to her mom that something was wrong with the driver, Carlsen sprinted after the vehicle, pounded on its door and signaled for a third-grader to open the door. She then jumped in, squeezed beside the driver applied the brake and turned off the ignition before it crashed into a house.

The bus was carrying 40 children and Carlsen said all she could think about was running after the bus. She later realized that there was an incline and the bus would have slowed and rolled backward.


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“It’s humbling to know that my daughter is paying attention to everything that I do,” Carlsen said.

Carlsen said that her experience has given her a platform to spread the word about bus safety.

The winner of will receive $10,000 and a five-day trip to the Virgin Islands. The show will air at 5 p.m. tonight on KASA channel 2.