LAURINBURG — An accident that resulted in a vehicle slamming into Laurel Hill Elementary School appears to have been caused by a driver suffering a heart attack, school officials said.
Superintendent Ron Hargrave said the driver — a grandmother of a Laurel Hill student — was entering the school’s student pickup entrance Monday afternoon when she fell ill.
“The car jumped the curb and hit the side of the building,” Hargrave said. “The driver was injured, we think she had a heart attack before jumping the curb.”
When staff at Laurel Hill checked on the driver, the woman did not have a pulse, officials said. School nurse Amanda McNickle had to use an automated external defibrillator to get the woman’s heart started again.
“The nurse had to shock the lady twice and was able to revive her until EMS got there,” Hargrave said.
The name and age of the grandmother have not been released and school administrators were unsure of her condition as of Tuesday afternoon.
Hargrave applauded school staff for their quick action.
“We constantly talk about training and making sure we are ready when something happens, we never know,” he said. “I’m just very proud of the fact those folks didn’t just stand by, they jumped into action without a doubt saved someone’s life.”
Hargrave said he planned to have McNickle attend a future school board meeting to publicly thank her for her efforts.
“When I talked to her, she said I just did what I was trained to do, but I don’t want to talk about it because if I talk about it I’m going to fall apart,” he said.
According to Meredith Bounds, Scotland County Schools public information officer, the woman’s car hit the front corner of the building. Laurel Hill administrators said the damage to the school was cosmetic.
“No children were in the playground that’s near the front of the school and the classrooms and hallways were empty when the accident occurred,” Bounds said.
Amber Hatten can be reached at 910-506-3170.