Beloved principal killed in bus crash pushed children from harm's way

Beloved principal killed in bus crash pushed children from harm's way

Susan Jordan, principal of Amy Beverland for 22 years, died at the scene after the bus struck her and two 10-year-old students.

635894263871423517-0029A longtime educator who was beloved by her students and described as a legend died Tuesday after she was struck by a school bus that jumped a curb outside Amy Beverland Elementary School.

Susan Jordan, principal of Amy Beverland for 22 years, died at the scene after the bus struck her and two 10-year-old students around 2:45 p.m. at the school at 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,” Shawn A. Smith, 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 investigating 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 at Amy Beverland, Jordan was principal at Brook Park Elementary School, 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.


“She always brings a positive spirit to Amy Beverland,” said one teacher on the video who is unidentified by name. “One thing I know makes her a great leader is that she always trusts in her teachers, and she’s always positively supporting us.”

Later in the video, a group of students shouted an acrostic using Jordan’s name.

“A is for awesome, because you’re an awesome principal,” one student said.

The video closed with a message to Jordan: “We love you, Mrs. Jordan! Amy Beverland really is the sunshine after the rainbow. Thank you for your many years of leadership!”

The crash, which occurred during dismissal, thrust the school into disarray, with concerned parents rushing to pick up their children amid ambulances and police cars.

“I got a call from my 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 school in the Lawrence Township school district that focuses on communications. The school enrolls 806 students, according to figures posted on 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 the Indianapolis Junior Academy, 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 — Ncube’s son Joshua Sandile Ncube, 12, and his niece Malia Siziba, 5 — later died in the hospital. Jack Reed, the 80-year-old driver of the other car, also later died in the hospital.


Pictures and Story via IndyStar

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