When the school bus lurched forward, Susan Jordan followed her instincts.
They were the same instincts that had guided her for 22 years as the principal of Indianapolisâ€™s Amy Beverland Elementary.
The same ones that helped the school receive a four-star, â€œAâ€ rating from the Indiana Department of Education. The ones that compelled her students and staff to describe her as the â€œdefinition of wonderfulâ€ â€” along with virtually every positive adjective in the dictionary â€”Â in a tribute video last year.
Everyone who knew Jordan knew that she put children first. And so she did this Tuesday afternoon, after a stationary school bus inexplicably accelerated, jumping a curb toward a group of students.
As the hulking vehicle approached, the principal pushed several students out of the way. But she was fatally hit in doing so.
â€œQuite frankly, ladies and gentleman, we are talking about a legend,â€ Lawrence Township Schools Superintendent Shawn Smith said during a mournful news conference following the accident. â€œThis loss is going to ripple across our district of 15,000 students.â€
According to the Indianapolis Star, the bus was carrying 25 students, none of whom were injured. Two 10-year-old students who were struck alongside Jordan are in the hospital with serious but non-life-threatening juries, authorities told the Associated Press.
The bus driver will be given a blood test, a standard procedure in fatal collisions, Indianapolis Police Cmdr. Chris Bailey told the AP.
It escaped no oneâ€™s notice that Jordan died as she lived.
The bus driver, who told firefighters she does not know why the bus suddenly started moving, said she saw Jordan steer several children to safety â€œin the instant that the accident occurred.â€
â€œThey just loved her,â€ Indianapolis Fire Department spokeswoman Rita Reith told CNN. â€œUp to the minute she was alive, she was helping the kids.â€
In a heartwarming appreciation video created by a sixth-grade class last May, â€œMrs. Jâ€Â was described by her students and colleagues as a passionate, positive force who made everyone feelÂ at home.
â€œIâ€™m sure that I have never had and will never have a boss who is as supportive as she is,â€ one teacher said.
The video is set to the tune of â€œSomewhere Over the Rainbow,â€ with credits at the end that read: â€œWe love you Mrs. Jordan! Amy Beverland really is the sunshine after the rainbow.â€
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