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'I told the kids duck!' | St. Louis bus driver tried to protect children during Friday gun battle, car crash

"They said 'You bleeding, you bleeding, but I was more worried about the kids safety," Richardson added
Credit: KSDK

ST. LOUIS — A St. Louis school bus driver said the violence in our city has to stop.

She was the unintended victim of a gun battle, that led to her bus crashing into a house.

RELATED: 'I was so scared' | School bus full of students caught in crossfire of north St. Louis shooting

For the past 20 years, what drives Tomika Richardson every day are her students. 

"They mean the world to me," Richardson said. Her goal is to get them home safe.

But after two decades behind the wheel, Richardson saw something she never saw before.

Friday afternoon in north St. Louis, she was dropping off students from KIPP Triumph Academy in Walnut Park.

Police say a woman and man were in the woman's car when an SUV pulled alongside them and fired shots.

"Kids heard gunshots, shots were just coming. I told the kids duck, run, go, go, jump," she said. 

Credit: Tomika Richardson

The victims drove off and when they reached Lenora and Floy Avenue, their car slammed into the bus.

She recalls that moment, "A car came out of nowhere and bam! We hit the bus. We went up on grass, mudslide ran into the house and bam."

Richardson's entire body slammed into the windshield.

"They said you bleeding, you bleeding, but I was more worried about the kids' safety," Richardson said.

She said glass was all over her body from her feet to her ears as well as in her throat.

Richardson had to undergo surgery, but what's hurting her the most is not being able to go back to work because of her injuries. 

"Today is the second day of not going back to work, I went to work every day never missed a day," she said.

But she's thankful, she was still able to get the eight children on board home safe and sound. 

"I just thank God that we made it and the kids did too!" Richardson said.

She's currently in the hospital and needs to do occupational physical therapy as part of her recovery.

There is a GoFundMe set up for her medical costs, since she's currently unemployed.

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