Holbrook Indian School Mourns Loss of Student in Bus Accident

Kiarra Alma Gordon, 17, was killed and six others injured during a field trip.

Holbrook Indian School and Pacific Union Conference
Holbrook Indian School Mourns Loss of Student in Bus Accident
[Photo: Chevon Petgrave]

On August 28, 2022, 17-year-old student Kiarra Alma Gordon was killed and six others injured during an accident involving a bus from the Holbrook Indian School (HIS) in Arizona, United States. 

According to the Arizona Department of Public Safety, the bus slowed down in traffic near a rollover crash when it was struck from behind by a semi-truck. The bus, transporting a group of staff and students on a field trip to Window Rock, Arizona, was pushed into the vehicle in front of it.

“I am finding it difficult to find the right words to express our grief on the loss of our dear student Kiarra,” HIS principal Pedro Ojeda said.. “She brightened our world. I continue to pray for our students who were injured and for all the students and staff who were on the bus.” Ojeda issued a joint statement about the incident with Berit von Pohle, HIS board chair and Pacific Union Conference vice president for education, on August 30.

Gordon, from the Wide Ruins on the Navajo Nation, was a talented young woman who loved sports and was focused on her education. The six other students were treated at Flagstaff Medical Center; three were released after medical evaluation, and three remain hospitalized in stable condition. The families ask for privacy.

Trauma therapy counselors and chaplains are currently assisting students and staff at Holbrook Indian School. The HIS board has established an accident assistance fund to benefit all of the students affected by this tragedy. And the Pacific Union Conference has made a donation to the Gordon family to cover the cost of funeral expenses.

“This is a challenging time for our school; I know our belief and faith in Jesus will carry us through these times,” Ojeda said. “We have been humbled by the outpouring of love and prayers for our school community. Please continue to keep us in your prayers.”

Bradford C. Newton, president of the Pacific Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, issued a statement on August 29. “Our hearts were broken as we received the tragic news of the death of one of our precious students at Holbrook Indian School,” Newton wrote. “Our prayers are with each member of the families impacted by the injuries and the loss of life that resulted from the bus accident on August 28. There are no words to express the grief and loss that come from this tragedy.”

Newton continued, “The community of care at Holbrook Indian School is so important to this unique and enduring ministry. We pray for each of our students, our faculty and staff, and for everyone who has been impacted that God’s great love will be a source of comfort and strength as they confront this crisis together.”

The original version of this story was posted on the North American Division news site.

Holbrook Indian School and Pacific Union Conference

Holbrook Indian School and Pacific Union Conference