SPRING HILL - The reigning school district volunteer of the year has been identified as the man who died Monday following a head-on collision with a school bus.
The accident happened around 2:20 p.m. near the entrance to Challenger K-8 as the Michael Lee McCall was traveling west on Elgin Boulevard. For still unknown reasons McCall lost control, traveled into the eastbound lane and into the path of the oncoming school bus. There were no students on the bus, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
McCall died Monday night during surgery, according to Spring Hill Elementary Principal Terri Dewey and the FHP.
"He's also a veteran, and he volunteered almost everyday in kindergarten classrooms, and on campus," Dewey said. "If we needed something he would run it to a classroom, or he would walk with a student, or sit with a student who was sick. On a daily basis he worked with students struggling in the classroom."
Dewey said she made the recommendation for McCall to be volunteer of the year.
"I feel very emotional about this, this morning," Dewey said. "It's a very family-oriented environment in here, and yesterday (Monday) he was leaving from helping us when he had the accident."
McCall's daughter, Michelle McCall, who teaches kindergarten at Spring Hill Elementary where McCall volunteered for two years, said her father had Parkinson's disease, but that this did not contribute in anyway to the motor vehicle accident, and that he saw a neurologist who is an expert in Parkinson's disease last week, who said McCall's Parkinson's would not have any restrictions on his driving.
"We don't know what happened, or if he had a heart attack or stroke that might have contributed to it," she said. "He was very loved by his family and friends, and he'll really be missed."
Michelle also said that her father, a retired veteran on disability, loved volunteering at the school, and gave him a sense of purpose.
"My family and I are obviously really going to miss him," she said. "He volunteered three to five days a week in a classroom with me."
Dewey describes McCall as someone with a great heart, and who was always there to help.
"He was a very caring, and loving person, and worked with our other volunteers really well if something needed to be done," Dewey said. "He went to the store for snacks and materials for students, and helped out with projects and programs."
The school bus was driven by Thomas Kehoe, 62, of Spring Hill, who received minor back and shoulder injuries and was transported to Spring Hill Regional Hospital. The other passenger, bus attendant John Alonzo, 66, also of Spring Hill, sustained no injuries.
"Our attendant acted very quickly, and grabbed the fire extinguisher like he was trained," said School Transportation Director Doug Compton, adding that, fortunately, the fire extinguisher never needed to be used. "We're very proud of our two employees."