Principal killed in Indiana school bus crash

Posted at 3:49 PM, Jan 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-26 21:16:01-05

INDIANAPOLIS -- An Indianapolis elementary school principal was killed and two students were seriously injured when a bus suddenly lurched forward and struck them in front of the school Tuesday, authorities said.

Susan Jordan, the principal of Amy Beverland Elementary School on the city's far northeast side, was killed and two 10-year-old children were hospitalized with serious but non-life-threatening injuries, they said.

Buses were lined up outside the school when the accident happened about 2:45 p.m., Indianapolis Fire Department Capt. Rita Reith said.

"At some point the stationary bus lurched forward and jumped the curb. The bus was not moving at the time directly before it jumped the curb," Reith said.

The bus driver was being interviewed by police, but it was not clear initially why the bus suddenly lurched forward, Reith said. The bus driver said she saw Jordan push several students out of the way before she was killed.

The bus driver and 25 students on the bus were examined by emergency responders but did not require treatment, she 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.

In a statement, the School Board of Lawrence Township said:

“Susan was an amazing educator. She had a remarkable way of making everyone she came in contact with feel valued and important. She had a passion for children that is unmatched. The entire Lawrence Township Community mourns her loss and extends our sympathy to the Amy Beverland Community the multitudes of people whose lives she touched.”

Jordan leaves behind 806 first- through sixth-graders and a school that has been recognized as a Four Star School and an "A" school by the Indiana Department of Education.

The district canceled classes at all of its schools Wednesday and said in a statement that four locations, including a transportation center, 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.


Associated Press writer Rick Callahan contributed to this report.