DOUGLAS COUNTY, Ga. - A Douglas County school bus driver spoke Monday morning for the first time since saving three students from her burning bus last week.
"I could only think about the kids, they're my babies. They're like my own," Shuronda Richardson told FOX 5.
The accident happened around 4:15 p.m. last Friday near the corner of Maxham Road and Old Alabama Road in Douglas County near the Cobb County line. SKYFOX 5 flew over the scene shortly after 5 p.m. and saw a large black SUV, possibly a Chevrolet Avalanche, crashed into the side of the bus.
Douglas County Schools Transportation Director Andy Micacchione said a truck ran a red light, causing the SUV to be pushed under the bus. That SUV caught fire which spread to the school bus with students still inside.
"It was frightening," Richardson said. "It sounded like a train wreck. I first checked on the students, then I immediately called for help. One of the students started crying and that's when I saw the smoke coming up from the floor so I told them the bus was on fire and we had to go."
Officials said Richardson worked to evacuate and guide her students to safety before the fire grew bigger. Micacchione said the school district will honor Richardson for her actions and nominate her for a statewide award based on her heroic act of courage.
Three students from Turner Middle School Students were on board at the time of the crash. Richardson, along with the students, were taken to a nearby medical center for evaluation but were later released.
"I told them to run, and they did exactly what they were supposed to do. I am so proud of them," Richardson said. "I'm not the hero. They are because if they hadn't done what I said this wouldn't have played out the way it did."
Firefighters said the driver of the SUV suffered a broken arm and was also taken to an area hospital.
Richardson returned to her normal bus routes on Monday.
"One of the students that was on board the bus Friday came back today," Richardson said. "I gave her hug, told her I loved her and was happy to see her back."
The name of the truck driver was not released. It is unclear what charges that driver may face in the accident.
Both the bus and the SUV had to be towed from the scene.
Richardson told FOX 5 News she has advice for other bus drivers.
"Always be alert, never take a day for granted and safety should be the first priority," Richardson said.