AKRON, Ohio — Authorities have determined that a disengaged parking brake caused a bus to start rolling, ultimately killing a bus driver during a safety drill at an Akron charter school Tuesday.
Laura Zborowski, 51, of Akron, was doing the drill with about 38 students at Middlebury Academy at the time. Police said she was helping the last student evacuate the bus when it started to move.
Zborowski is credited with saving the child by pushing her to the side, but couldn’t get out of the way in time and was killed.
Ohio State Highway Patrol Sgt. Eli Rivera said that after an inspection of the bus, it was determined that the parking brake had become manually disengaged, causing the bus to roll. It had been engaged properly prior to the drill, he said, but at some point it became disengaged.
The brake requires a significant degree of force to become disengaged, so it likely was not bumped out of place during the course of the drill, Rivera said. He can’t say who may have disengaged the parking brake. That is still under investigation.
Meanwhile, Zborowski’s family released a statement Wednesday thanking the community and asking for privacy.
“Yesterday we lost our dearly beloved Laura Zborowski. She died as she lived, putting the needs of others before her own needs, this time, in a selfless and courageous act. We are thankful and proud that she was not only in a position help, but that she did so swiftly and without hesitation. Laura was a kind hearted person, a mother, a sister and just recently, a breast cancer survivor. She loved her family and her friends dearly and she also loved the Lord. She has gone home now. We thank you all, from the bottom of our hearts, for your thoughts, well wishes and prayers as we attempt to not only allow the healing process to begin for our family and friends, but to sort out what needs to happen in the next few days and weeks to allow our family to move forward in a positive way. Please, for now, give our family the privacy we need to grieve our loss.”
Grief counselors were available at the school Wednesday to help students and staff deal with the incident.
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