No signs of mechanical problem in fatal bus accident

Ken Kusmer
Associated Press

Indianapolis — An initial investigation found no mechanical problems on a bus that suddenly lurched forward and fatally struck an elementary school principal in Indianapolis, and the driver showed no visible signs of impairment, police said Wednesday.

Indianapolis Police Sgt. Kendale Adams said an investigation is ongoing into what caused the bus to strike Susan Jordan and injure two 10-year-old students Tuesday afternoon. Investigators are “going off the premise this was a tragic and unfortunate accident,” he said.

The accident occurred while the bus was parked in a line with other buses near a sidewalk outside Amy Beverland Elementary School on the city’s far northeast side. The bus driver told firefighters that she saw Jordan push several students out of the way as the bus suddenly lurched over a curb.

The two injured students were hospitalized with serious but non-life-threatening injuries.

The driver and 25 students on the bus were examined by emergency responders but did not require treatment, Indianapolis Fire Department Capt. Rita Reith said Tuesday evening.

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 Tuesday evening.

“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.

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.