A tragic incident unfolded on an Ohio interstate Tuesday, resulting in the loss of at least six lives and injuries to 18 others in a multi-vehicle collision involving a bus carrying school students, according to authorities. The devastating Ohio crash occurred shortly after 9 a.m., involving two commercial vehicles, a semitrailer, and two passenger vehicles. Described as a “chain-reaction crash” by the Ohio State Highway Patrol, the collision led to three vehicles erupting in flames.
The semitrailer collided with a charter bus transporting students and chaperones from the Tuscarawas Valley Local School District. The group was en route to an Ohio School Boards Association conference in Columbus, as stated on the district’s Facebook page.
Tragically, three passengers on the bus lost their lives at the scene, identified by the state Highway Patrol as John W. Mosely (18), Jeffery D. Worrell (18), and Katelyn N. Owens (15). Additionally, all three occupants of another vehicle involved in the collision perished: Dave Kennat (56), Kristy Gaynor (39), and Shannon Wigfield (45). All victims were Ohio residents.
Fifteen students and the bus driver are receiving treatment at local hospitals, while the remaining students were taken to a designated “reunification site.”
One commercial vehicle driver received non-life-threatening injuries and was treated at the hospital, while the other driver was treated and released at the crash scene.
Pioneer Trails, the bus company involved, confirmed its association with the incident in a Facebook post. Superintendent Derek Varansky expressed condolences and reassured the community, stating, “Right now, our focus is on getting in touch with our Tusky Valley families who had loved ones on the bus and providing support to our entire school community.”
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The crash unfolded on Interstate 70 West in Licking County, involving five vehicles, according to Lt. Nate Dennis, a spokesperson for the Ohio State Highway Patrol. In total, 57 people were on board during the tragic incident, confirmed Licking County Emergency Management Agency Director Sean Grady.
Governor Mike DeWine expressed the gravity of the situation, calling it “our worst nightmare” during a press conference and offering condolences to the affected families. In honor of the victims, DeWine ordered that flags on public buildings and grounds in Ohio be flown at half-staff from Wednesday through Saturday.
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Jennifer Homendy, chair of the National Transportation Safety Board, stated that the investigation into the crash could take 12 to 18 months. However, an initial report is expected to be released in the coming weeks, shedding light on the circumstances surrounding this heartbreaking event.