Shuronda Crawford-Richardson told WGCL, she was finishing up her route in Douglas County Friday. Three students from Turner Middle School were on board as they approached the intersection of Maxham and Old Alabama roads, located just inside the Cobb County border.
Suddenly, two nearby cars collided, sending a pickup truck crashing into the side of the bus.
“When he (the driver) hit the bus, it was hard,” recalled Crawford-Richardson. “The bus actually went over. We thought it was going to roll, and I could only think about the children.”
Video from the bus’s mounted cameras shows Crawford-Richardson checking on the students and then quickly notifying dispatchers at transportation headquarters.
Seconds later, she realized the pickup truck, which ended up beneath her bus, had caught fire. Bystanders realized it, too.
“We’ve got to exit the bus!” shouted Crawford-Richardson. “Come on! The bus is on fire!”
Within a matter of ten seconds, she had all three students off the bus. Minutes later, the whole bus was engulfed in smoke and flames.
Crawford-Richardson said she does not consider herself a hero. She said she simply followed her training.
“I’m not a hero. The babies are the heroes,” she said. “They listened. They did what they were supposed to do.”
Crawford-Richardson says there were other unnamed heroes that day – specifically the bystanders who rescued the driver of the pickup truck before the flames overtook the vehicles.
The driver was in serious condition when medics rushed him to a hospital, police said. His current condition is unknown.