Posted at: 04/09/2013 5:58 PM
Updated at: 04/09/2013 6:16 PM
By: Erica Zucco, KOB Eyewitness News 4
Mesa Vista students and alumni are mourning the loss of a bus driver who started their days for decades, but they’re pulling through by pulling for the children who are still here – and comforting each other with stories of their courage.
Students are rallying around three children who were seriously hurt in the crash. KOB Eyewitness News 4 was there as one of those students was airlifted to UNM Hospital.
“We just spend the morning with her,” friend and Mesa Vista student Santa Gallegos said, “And she just said that she didn’t remember what had happened to her.”
“She just looked in pain,” Mesa Vista student Leroy Campos said.
Friends also told KOB about a student on the bus who worked to get others out to safety.
“He broke two seats with his body,” Mesa Vista student Santana Suazo said, “And he helped all the kids get out of the bus, he broke the door open so the kids could get out.”
The community will cope with the loss of their beloved bus driver for a long time, but the strength seen through these kids pays tribute to his memory.
Still, there are a lot of questions to answer. State police hope a crash team can determine whether anything could have been done to prevent the missed turn. An autopsy on Valdez may reveal whether a medical condition could also have played a role in his death.