Three students were among the dead after a charter bus operated for Tuscarawas Valley Local School District crashed en route to an Ohio School Boards Association conference in Columbus.
The incident occurred Tuesday after what police called a chain-reaction crash occurred on Interstate 70 involving the motorcoach, a semi-trailer and two passenger vehicles.
A total of 55 people including the bus driver were onboard the coach. The Ohio State Highway Patrol identified the three students as John Mosley, 18, Jeffery Worrell, 18, and Katelyn Owens, 15.
The other three people killed were traveling in the passenger car behind the bus and were identified as Tusky Valley teacher Dave Kennat, 56, parent Kristy Gaynor, 39, and Shannon Wigfield, 45 a Languages arts teacher at Buckeye Career Center.
The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating.
Tuscarawas Valley Local Schools Superintendent Derek Varansky released a statement on social media confirming that out of the 20 students who were transported to seven local hospitals with injuries, 18 had been released to parents. At this writing, two students remained in the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
Following the incident, all uninjured students and directors were transported to a local church where students received care, counseling and reunification began with families, continued Varansky.
Gov. Mike DeWine ordered the U.S. and Ohio flags to be flown at half-staff on all public buildings and grounds throughout Tuscarawas and Stark counties, at the Ohio Statehouse, Vern Riffe Center and Rhodes Towers from sunrise on Nov. 15 until sundown on Nov. 18.
This is the second crash involving student fatalities in Ohio this school year. In August, 11-year-old Aiden Clark was killed when another vehicle collided with his Northwestern Local School District school bus. The school bus did not have seatbelts installed for the students, and Clark was reportedly ejected when the bus rolled over. He died at the scene, and 23 other students were injured, one critically.
Following the death of Clark, DeWine announced the creation of a School Bus Safety Working Group to look at safety elements relating to school buses, including the use of lap/shoulder seatbelts. The Working Group has already met five times, the most recent on Thursday, with the next meeting scheduled for Dec. 1.
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