TAMPA, Fla. — A longtime, beloved school bus driver here died on Monday, which was the first day of school.
Hillsborough County Public Schools officials told WFTS that Cynthia Gibson, who drove for the district for over 30 years, was killed in a car crash on her way to work. (Gibson was not driving a school bus in the crash, according to the news source.) Gibson crashed into the back of a tractor-trailer, officials from the Plant City Police department told Spectrum Bay News 9.
Gibson was planning on retiring at the end of the 2019-20 school year, James Beekman, the general manager of transportation for the district, told WFTS. He added in a statement obtained by WFTS and Spectrum Bay News 9 that Gibson, also known as “Ms. Cherry,” touched "thousands of lives in this community through her driving,” that she served as a mentor to other drivers, and that he has “never met a driver so unique and so full of passion for those around her."
Beekman also said in the statement that “When schools had some challenging students, she would step forward and work with those at-risk kids and made a difference.”
Friends and family of Gibson, according to Spectrum Bay News 9, said that she was a union representative for bus drivers, helped the homeless, and was active in her church.