AUSTELL, Ga. - After a frightening accident resulted in a fiery school bus wreck, the bus driver is being commended for her quick-thinking and cool head.
Shuronda Crawford-Richardson recalls the terrifying moment when a pickup truck slammed into the side of a Douglas County bus after running a red light.
The accident happened at the intersection of Maxham and Old Alabama Road in Cobb County.
Crawford-Richardson recalls the first thing that came to her mind once the truck hit the bus,
“The children, honestly the children. When he hit the bus, it was hard. The bus actually went over, we thought it was going to roll and I can only think about the children because I didn’t have time to even warn them or tell them that this was happening,” she said.
“I looked back to see if the kids were okay, I was asking if they were okay, they were crying but you know, I radioed transportation immediately to let them know what had happened. After notifying them, I got up, checked on the kids again and that’s when we noticed that, we’d seen smoke. I didn’t think it was that bad, but it just got worse. The bus was definitely on fire, so, I told the kids to run, and that’s what I did.”
Her instincts proved heroic and as seen from the bus video recording, Crawford-Richardson acted quickly to get the remaining students off the bus quickly and safely.
“No ma’am, I’m not a hero, the babies are the heroes, honestly. They listened, they did what they’re supposed to do. And actually, there were some gentlemen which pulled the guy out from under the truck, the bus that was there, they’re the heroes.”
Crawford-Richardson said her own children “babied” her and “pampered” her after being notified about the accident. Her children are 21, 16 and 14 years old, all three of whom she refers to as “her babies,” just like her students.
“Yes ma’am, all of them are my babies. They are, I treat them like my own. I’ve always wanted to have a big family and three was all I could have, but that’s my own personal way of having more children,” she said.
“I’ve always liked working with kids, always liked working with kids. I mean, that’s where my heart is. As long as you’re doing something that, you know, you have your heart into it, hey.”
She commends the training she received for her quick thinking.
“But that training, it really did help. It helped on a day like that. And, like I said, no, had no way of knowing it was going to happen," she said.
Thanks to her fearless actions, the school system and members of the Douglas County community are applauding Richardson as a hero for her brave actions.