Bus Driver’s Death Raises Questions on Emergency Preparedness

Daytona Everett

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A bus driver had a heart attack and collided with another bus around 6 a.m. at Coachella Valley High School. No students were hurt but the bus driver, Lolita Lopez, passed away.

Lalita’s family said she was an amazing human being and will be missed. Students in the Health Academy program at CVHS said with the proper equipment, they could have possibly helped her. The program certifies students in CPR and allows them to take classes to become an EMT.

Friday morning, when the emergency occurred, the students said bystanders felt helpless while waiting for the ambulance. After today’s death, there’s an urgency to change that for the future.

“My team is in charge of establishing AED’s in the high schools in the Coachella Valley district,” Stephanie Garcia, one of the Health Academy students, said. “We don’t have any right now.”

An AED is an automated external defibrillator, used to help during a cardiac arrest. The students practice with a fake one during class.

“If we had an AED at our school right now, it could have helped the situation like the one in the morning,” Garcia said.

That way, during the time it takes the ambulance to arrive, something can be done to help. This morning, the students said it took about twelve minutes.

“I think we would have been able to use it after CPR didn’t work,” Garcia said. “I think the AED would have definitely been an essential.”

“It could happen at any moment,” Bianca Rasgado, another Health Academy student, said. “It could happen right now to a student.”

Their teacher, Simon Moore, said the district has been cooperative about the Health Academy program and plans on getting a real AED instead of the test one they use right now. Students said they would feel comfortable using the device if it was necessary during an emergency.

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