Bus driver: Principal pushed students to safety before dying in crash

A school bus crashed Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016. (Provided Photo/IFD)
A school bus crashed Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016. (Provided Photo/IFD)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A beloved school principal died and two children were seriously injured when a school bus jumped a curb at Amy Beverland Elementary School on the far northeast side of Indianapolis Tuesday afternoon.

Two 10-year-olds were seriously injured and taken to Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health, an Indianapolis Fire Department spokesperson said. They remained in serious condition late Tuesday night, according to a hospital statement.

Officials said principal Susan Jordan died after being hit by the bus. The bus driver told investigators Jordan pushed several students to safety moments before the crash.

“That’s just the type of person she was,” said Lawrence Township schools superintendent Dr. Shawn A. Smith. “She was here every day, never missed a day of work — just a phenomenal individual that truly cared about children.”

Jordan served as principal of the school for 22 years.

The two children have non life-threatening injuries, IFD said.

An IFD official said Jordan was outside helping students board buses as she was hit.

The school bus lurched over a curb for an unknown reason, hitting Jordan and two children, IFD said.

Susan Jordan (Photo Courtesy: Amy Beverland Elementary School)
Susan Jordan (Photo Courtesy: Amy Beverland Elementary School)

The female bus driver, who has not been identified, told firefighters she’s not sure why the bus accelerated and jumped the curb.

The driver and 25 students on board were not injured.

“We lost a great educator today,” Smith said of Jordan. “Quite frankly, ladies and gentlemen, we’re talking about a legend of education.”

Tuesday classes in the township were canceled.

Community leaders were visibly shaken as they spoke a few hours after the crash.

“As many of you already know I’ve been very close to the situation,” said Lawrence Mayor Steve Collier as he fought back tears. “It’s very hard to talk right now… we mourn Lawrence Township.”

Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett also spoke.

“We express our condolences to the Amy Beverland Elementary School community and Lawrence Township schools,” Hogsett said.

The school bus involved, bus No. 244, was inspected four days ago, and no problems were found, according to an Indiana State Police inspection report.

Emergency crews were called to the school around 2:45 p.m.

Amy Beverland Elementary School is in the Metropolitan School District of Lawrence Township. Parents were asked to pick their children up from the school following the crash.

WISH-TV’s Julian Grace speaks about principal’s legacy

24-Hour News 8’s Julian Grace has a child attending Amy Beverland Elementary School.

After the crash, he talked about what Susan Jordan meant to him.

Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett issued the following statement after the accident:

This afternoon, Indianapolis police officers, firefighters, and medics responded to a call – and a place – that they will carry with them for the rest of their lives.

In the midst of tragedy, they responded quickly and with complete professionalism. For that, I want to thank them.

Tonight, our hearts are heavy – but full. From where we stand at this moment, our prayers go out: to the family of Principal Jordan; to the students and parents touched by this tragedy, and to two hospital rooms at Riley.

In moments like this, I know that tears come far easier than words.

But – on behalf of the people of Indianapolis – I want the students, parents, and teachers of Amy Beverland Elementary to know one thing: tonight, we are all ONE family, tonight we are all part of the Amy Beverland community.

The school district released the following statement:

The Metropolitan School District of Lawrence Township will NOT hold classes on Wednesday, January 27.  District-wide, we will mourn the loss of our beloved Susan Jordan, principal of Amy Beverland Elementary.  There will be no before and after school care.

After school activities will be permitted to continue as planned.

On Wednesday, the following locations will be open for emotional support to our staff and families from 7:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.:

  • Amy Beverland Elementary, 11650 Fox Road
  • Belzer Middle School, 7555 East 56 Street
  • Transportation, 5850 Thunderbird Road
  • Lawrence Education and Community Center (LECC), 6501 Sunnyside Road

Thursday, January 28, all students and staff will return to their regularly scheduled classes and activities.  Additional support will be available at all buildings for those in need.

The MSD of Lawrence Township is saddened beyond words by the tragic accident at Amy Beverland Elementary.

Click below to watch the full remarks from officials.