Ala. Teacher and Father of 4 Dies After Getting Pinned Between Buses Before Class: 'Tremendous Loss'

Mortimer Jordan High School teacher and bus driver Mark Ridgeway got stuck between the buses after one began to roll away as he was inspecting the vehicle, according to reports

A community in Alabama is mourning after a beloved high school teacher, bus driver and father of four was killed in an accident on campus.

The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office said Mark Ridgeway, 58, died Wednesday after he was pinned between two school buses outside of Mortimer Jordan High School in Kimberly, according to ABC affiliate WBMA-LD and

Ridgeway was conducting standard checks of his bus prior to his morning route when the unoccupied vehicle started to roll away, per the reports. He became stuck between the two buses as a result and was pronounced dead at the scene when first-responders arrived.

The sheriff's office did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

Mortimer Jordan High School principal Craig Kanaday confirmed Ridgeway's death in a letter to families in the district, describing it as "a tremendous loss."

Ridgeway was a history teacher at the school, where he taught for nearly 30 years, Kanaday said. He also served as a pastor until retiring from the position last summer.

"The number of lives he touched on a daily basis is immeasurable and he will be deeply missed," Kanaday wrote in Wednesday's letter.

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Ridgeway leaves behind his wife Connie Ridgeway, who works as an English teacher at the school, and four children, according to

"Please keep her, their kids, and the entire Ridgeway family in your prayers," Kanaday wrote in the letter. "We will provide whatever assistance they need in the coming days."

Classes at the school were canceled Wednesday but resumed on Thursday, according to WBMA-LD and

Grief counselors and local pastors have been made available in wake of Ridgeway's death, Kanaday told the school community in his letter.

Superintendent Walter Gonsoulin said one student witnessed a portion of Wednesday's accident, according to WBMA-LD.

"It's in times like these that I am reminded that life is fragile and precious and that we must cling to one another for encouragement and support," Kanaday write in his letter. "Together, with God's grace and with time, we will get through this."

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