Ohio Highway Tragedy: Six Lives Lost in School Bus Collision with Semi-Truck
In a heart-wrenching incident on Tuesday morning, a charter bus carrying students to the Ohio School Boards Association conference became the scene of a devastating crash. The bus, transporting 57 individuals from an eastern Ohio high school, was rear-ended by a semi-truck on Interstate 70 West in Licking County.
The collision, which occurred near the Smoke Road underpass around 9 a.m., resulted in six fatalities and at least 18 injuries. Among the deceased were three students: John W. Mosely, Jeffery D. Worrell, both 18, and 15-year-old Katelyn N. Owens. Additionally, three adults in a passenger vehicle lost their lives: 56-year-old Dave Kennat, 39-year-old Kristy Gaynor, and 45-year-old Shannon Wigfield.
Derek Varansky, the superintendent of Tuscarawas Valley School District, shared the sad news on social media, expressing deep sadness for what happened. Emergency teams rushed to the scene, where, sadly, three vehicles, including the bus, caught fire.
At present, 18 injured individuals, including 15 students and the bus driver, are receiving medical attention at nearby hospitals. The conditions of the drivers are different, with one having non-life-threatening injuries and the other's condition still unknown.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is deploying a team, led by Chair Jennifer Homendy, to investigate the crash and ensure a thorough safety assessment.
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Representative Troy Balderson extended their condolences and prayers to the affected families. Governor DeWine ordered flags to fly at half-staff in both Licking County and at the Ohio Statehouse to honor the lives lost in this tragic incident.
As the investigation continues, the community is trying to understand and cope with the terrible accident that has forever changed the lives of those involved. Questions about the safety measures on the highway, including the role of Variable Speed Limit Signs, add complexity to the ongoing inquiry. While the eastbound side of the highway is open again, the westbound lanes remain closed as investigators work hard to understand how this heartbreaking crash happened. The tragic incident underscores the importance of closely examining and potentially improving the effectiveness of Variable Speed Limit Signs on busy highways.