HomeSafetyNTSB Releases Preliminary Report on Illinois School Bus Crash

NTSB Releases Preliminary Report on Illinois School Bus Crash

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released its initial findings from the March 11 school bus crash in Rushville, Illinois, that killed three students and the bus driver. But no details on the exact cause of the crash were released.

The NTSB report released on April 3 states that a 2020 Micro Bird, 25-passenger school bus, was traveling east on Highway 24 at 11:29 a.m. the day of the incident. The school bus was operated by Schuyler-Industry Community Unit School District No. 5. School bus driver, Angela Spiker, 57, was transporting three students ranging in age from 3 to 5 years old.

A 2001 Mack CH613 truck-tractor with a 2001 vantage 39-foot, end-dump semitrailer, referred to as a combination vehicle by the NTSB, was traveling west, approaching the school bus. The combination vehicle was operated by Beaird Transport Inc., of Astoria Illinois, driven by David Coufal, 72, and was loaded with sand.

Highway 24 is described as an undivided two-lane asphalt roadway consisting of one 11-foot-wide travel lane in each direction. The eastbound lane was reportedly flanked by a 3.5-foot-wide, asphalt-paved shoulder that transitioned to a 7-foot-wide, crushed-aggregate shoulder. Meanwhile, the westbound lane was flanked by a 3-foot-wide, asphalt-paved shoulder that transitioned to a 5-foot-wide, crushed-aggregate shoulder. Near the shoulders sit drainage ditches, the report states.

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The weather was reportedly clear and dry at the time of the crash.

As the school bus was about halfway through navigating a right-hand curve, it crossed over the broken yellow center lane, entered the westbound lane, and collided head-on with the combination vehicle. Both vehicles left the roadway in a northerly direction and caught fire.

The driver of both vehicles and the three student passengers, Maria Miller, 5, Andrew Miller, 3, and Noah Driscoll, 3, were killed.

The crash remains under investigation. A final report is expected next year.

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