A US primary school principal was seen pushing several students out of the way of an oncoming bus before the vehicle fatally struck her, authorities said on Tuesday.
Susan Jordan, the principal of Amy Beverland Elementary School on the far northeast side of Indianapolis, Indiana, was killed and two 10-year-old children were hospitalised with serious but non-life-threatening injuries when the bus suddenly lurched forward, authorities said.
Buses were lined up outside the school when the accident happened about 2.45pm, Indianapolis Fire Department captain Rita Reith said.
“At some point, the stationary bus lurched forward and jumped the kerb. The bus was not moving at the time directly before it jumped the kerb,” Reith said.
The bus driver told firefighters she was not sure what caused the bus to accelerate, Reith said in a statement Tuesday evening.
The driver also said “in the instant that the accident occurred”, she saw Jordan push several students out of the way, according to the statement.
The driver and 25 students on the bus were examined by emergency responders but did not require treatment, Reith said.
Jordan, who had been principal of the school for 22 years, was loved by her staff and the school community, Lawrence Township Schools Superintendent Shawn Smith said at a news conference.
“This is a great example of an educational leader in our state and our city … Just a phenomenal individual that truly cared about children. This is a tragic situation that we have. This loss is going to ripple across our district of 15,000 students,” Smith said.
Susan Jordan’s friends Deanna Renbarger and Jamie Strebing hug after a news conference in Indianapolis. Picture: Darron CummingsSource:AP
The district cancelled classes at all of its schools Wednesday and said in a statement that four locations, including a transportation centre, would be “open for emotional support to our staff and families”.
Indianapolis Police commander Chris Bailey said the bus driver, whose name was not immediately released, would be given a blood test, a standard procedure in collisions involving fatalities.