Beloved principal killed in bus crash pushed children from harm’s way – Indianapolis Star
UPDATE WEDNESDAY 11:25 A.M.:Â
The driver of the bus showed no outward signs of impairment at the scene of the crash, police told IndyStar.
A longtime educatorÂ who was beloved by her studentsÂ and described as a legendÂ died Tuesday after she was struck by a school bus that jumped a curb outsideÂ Amy Beverland Elementary School.
Susan Jordan, 69,Â principal of Amy Beverland for 22 years,Â died at the scene after the bus struck her andÂ two 10-year-old students around 2:45 p.m. at the school atÂ 11650 Fox Road.
The bus driver told Indianapolis Fire Department officials that Jordan pushed several kids out of harm’s way before being hit.
“Quite frankly, ladies and gentlemen, we are talking about a legend,”Â Shawn A. Smith,Â superintendent of the Lawrence Township Schools, said of Jordan at a news conference at the school.
Schools in Lawrence will not be in session Wednesday as students and staff mourn Jordan, the district announced Tuesday night.
Medics rushed the two 10-year-old students to Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health in serious but stable condition, officials said. They sustained non-life-threatening injuries.
The bus carried 25 students, who were not injured.
Police did not say why the bus jumped the curb, citing the ongoing investigation. The name of the female driver has not been released.
The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department’s Fatal Alcohol and Crash Team is investigatingÂ the incident. Detectives requested a blood draw from the driver, as is standard in fatal crashes.
IMPD North District Commander Chris Bailey said investigators have spoken with several witnesses.
Before becoming principal atÂ Amy Beverland, Jordan was principal at Brook Park Elementary School,Â a district spokeswoman said.
“We lost a great educator today,” said Smith, the superintendent.
Dozens of students, faculty and staff recited glowing testimonials about Jordan in an online video posted last May by a YouTube account associated with the school. The video opened with shots of elementary school students holding signs with words to describe Jordan: Friendly. Focused. Smart. Organized. Inspirational.
âShe always brings a positive spirit to Amy Beverland,â said one teacher on the video who is unidentified by name. âOne thing I know makes her a great leader is that she always trusts in her teachers, and sheâs always positively supporting us.â
Later in the video, a group of students shouted an acrostic using Jordanâs name.
âA is for awesome, because youâre an awesome principal,âÂ one student said.
The video closedÂ with a message to Jordan:Â âWe love you, Mrs. Jordan! Amy Beverland really is the sunshine after the rainbow. Thank you for your many years of leadership!â
The crash, which occurred duringÂ dismissal, thrust the school into disarray, with concerned parents rushing to pick up their childrenÂ amid ambulances and police cars.
“I got a call from myÂ mom, who was frantic, telling me to go to the school and pick up my sister because there was a crash. She didn’t know all of what was going on, just stuff she saw on the news, so I was pretty freaked out,” said Ed Garza, who picked up his sister from kindergarten.
Roy Nunnally arrived at the school to pick up his son, who is in kindergarten.
“I saw the police lights, and I was thinking the worst,” Nunnally said. “Then I asked what was going on, and they told me it was a bus accident. I’m definitely worried about them because we’re all neighbors. I didn’t know what to think.”
Amy Beverland is a magnet schoolÂ in the Lawrence Township school district that focuses on communications. The schoolÂ enrolls 806 students,Â according to figures posted onÂ its website.
The bus involved in the crash passed its Jan. 22 inspection conducted by Indiana State Police.
Another Indianapolis-area school principal died in a tragic crash in October. Norris Ncube, 52, was driving five children to school when his SUV was struck by a car on West Washington Street near I-465 in Wayne Township. Ncube was principal of theÂ Indianapolis Junior Academy,Â a Seventh-day Adventist private school.
The rush-hour crash killed Ncube instantly and sent all five children in the car to the hospital, as well as the driver of the other vehicle. Two of the children â Ncubeâs son Joshua Sandile Ncube, 12, and his niece Malia Siziba, 5 â later died in the hospital. Jack Reed, the 80-year-old driver of the other car, also later died in the hospital.
Police are still investigating cause of crash that killed Susan Jordan, principal of Amy Beverland Elementary for 22 years, Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2016.
Stephen J. Beard/IndyStar