A faculty member for Jefferson County (Alabama) Schools was killed in an accident at a high school on Jan. 25. Authorities said Mark Ridgeway, a history teacher and school bus driver at Mortimer Jordan High School, was performing standard checks of the bus before beginning his morning route. The unoccupied bus began to roll and struck Ridgeway, killing him. School was canceled as a result of the accident, WBRC reported.
According to local reports, Ridgeway was a beloved teacher at the school. Ridgeway, a Mortimer Jordan graduate himself, also served as a pastor at a local church. The church released a statement saying, “We are saddened that our beloved former pastor of 17 years Mark Ridgeway was in a fatal accident this morning. Please pray for his precious family and church family today and in the days to come.”
Mortimer Jordan Principal Craig Kanaday released a statement in response to Ridgeway’s death, saying in part, “[Ridgeway] was a selfless and devoted person to his faith, his family, and his school. As a personal colleague of mine for more than 25 years, Mark leaves behind cherished memories but also a great void among all circles of his life.” According to Kanaday, Mark’s wife, Connie, is also a teacher at the school. The principal said he would provide whatever assistance the family needs in the coming days.
A Jefferson County Schools spokesperson sent an additional statement to School Bus Fleet from Superintendent Dr. Walter Gonsoulin, who said: "He went above and beyond the call of duty. He will be missed. He was part of the JEFCOED family and the Mortimer Jordan family for over 20 years, as a bus driver and a teacher. His performance and his relationships with our students were impeccable."
In a Jan. 1 Facebook post, Ridgeway looked forward to 2023, saying in part, “I declare this day not only the beginning of a New Year but also the dawning of a New Season.”
The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Traffic Reconstruction Team is conducting the investigation into the circumstances surrounding the accident.