Principal killed, 2 kids injured after being struck by school bus

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An Indiana community mourned an elementary school principal who sacrificed her life so her students could live.

Posters, flowers, candles and balloons marked a makeshift memorial growing outside Amy Beverland Elementary School, northeast of Indianapolis.

“Mrs. Jordan, you’re our biggest star. We love you,” said one poster.

Another read: “You will shine forever.”

Susan Jordan died Tuesday as she helped load kids for the ride home. One of the buses there suddenly jumped the curb.

Up to 10 children were in harm’s way, according to Debbie Thie, a third grade teacher at the school.

“The bus was coming — she started pushing, moving kids, but they all couldn’t beat the pace of the bus,” she said. “The bus came to a stop. At that point I couldn’t see her.”

A pair of 10-year-olds were hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries.

Memorials dotted the Lawrence Township community where the school is located.

On the gate to the school, Ian Kille and his sixth grade daughter placed a sign in honor of Jordan.

“Every time I think about it I’m heartbroken, mainly for my daughter, because such an important role model in her life is gone,” Kille told CNN affiliate WISH. “I think about the kids that were hurt also and even the bus driver.”

What happened?

Investigators say they’ve checked out the bus and they found nothing mechanically wrong with it.

The Lawrence Township school district hasn’t released the bus driver’s name, but said she had a clean driving record and consented to a blood test.

“The bus driver showed no signs of impairment that our officers could see, smell or observe,” Lt. Rick Riddle with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department told WISH-TV. “So once that toxicology report comes back we can take that off the table.”

“It points us in a direction that this is nothing more than a tragic accident,” he said. “We don’t believe there was any criminal intent or criminal culpability at this point in our investigation.”

Amy Beverland Elementary is closed until Monday, and funeral services for Jordan will be held on Saturday.

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence ordered flags in Marion County to flag at half-staff in her honor.

“All of Indiana mourns the loss of Principal Susan Jordan,” Pence said. “Our hearts ache for her family, the school community and for all the children who were fortunate enough to be part of her world. Hoosiers will never forget that Principal Jordan lived the life of a hero and can always be grateful for her service and courage.”

Honoring her memory

The community hosted a pair of vigils on Wednesday.

Hundreds attended a private vigil at the school.

“She was one in a million,” Amy Bilyeu, president of the school’s parent-faculty organization, told affiliate WXIN.

Others attended a second vigil at a nearby Methodist church.

“This is a time, this is a place, this is an opportunity to heal,” Billy Nickrand, pastor of Castleton United Methodist Church, told WISH-TV. “To take a moment to pause and to give God thanks for her life.”

Jordan, a longtime educator, spent 22 years as principal of the school, and the community is just starting to come to grips with the thought of life without her.

“Susan is one of the most special people that I’ve ever known,” Thie said. “Most of my colleagues, and our school family, and the kids will tell you the same thing — she was remarkable. She died doing what she loved best, taking care of kids.”

By Ed Payne

CNN’s John Newsome contributed to this report.

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