On November 14, 2023, a catastrophic event unfolded in Ohio when a charter bus, carrying high school band students, collided with a semi-truck. This tragic incident has shocked the community, resulting in the loss of six lives, including three students, and leaving 15 others injured.
The collision occurred on Interstate 70 West near Smoke Road underpass in Licking County, approximately 40 miles northeast of Columbus. Around 8.30 am, the bus, which was en route to the Ohio School Boards Association conference in Columbus, was rear-ended by a truck. This accident, involving five vehicles, has been declared a “mass casualty incident.”
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Summary of Ohio high school bus accident
|Date and Time of Accident||November 14, 2023, around 8.30 am|
|Location||Interstate 70 West near Smoke Road underpass, Licking County|
|Fatalities||Six people, including three students|
|Injuries||15 people injured|
|Vehicles Involved||Five vehicles, including a charter bus and a semi-truck|
|Response||18 people taken to hospitals, 34 to reunification center|
|Highway Status||Closed in both directions for cleanup|
|Mass Casualty Incident||Classified as such due to the number of injuries|
Devastating Loss of Young Lives
The accident claimed the lives of three high school students: 15-year-old Katelyn Owens, and 18-year-olds John W. Mosely and Jeffrey D. Worrell. Additionally, high school teacher Dave Kennat (56), and parents Kristy Gaynor (39), and Shannon Wigfield were also killed. These individuals were following the bus in a car.
Following the crash, emergency responders swiftly acted to provide aid. Lieutenant Nathan Dennis from the Ohio State Highway Patrol reported that 18 people were taken to seven different hospitals. Additionally, approximately 34 students were transported to Etna United Methodist Church, which served as a reunification center.
The School and Community’s Reaction
Dr. Derek Varansky, the superintendent of Tuscarawas Valley Local Schools, expressed his devastation and extended support to the families affected. The school community is grappling with this heartbreaking news, with the focus now on supporting those impacted by this tragedy.
Pioneer Trails, the company operating the charter bus, has a satisfactory safety rating. It has been involved in one other crash in the last 24 months, resulting in one injury. The company has pledged its cooperation with authorities to determine the cause of the accident.
Emergency Services and Support
A significant response from various emergency services was witnessed at the scene. The Ohio State Highway Patrol, Licking County Sheriff’s Department, and Department of Transportation were among the first responders. The Red Cross provided support, fulfilling a request for 30 units of blood for the injured.
The Ohio Department of Transportation confirmed the closure of the highway in both directions for cleanup. This disruption is expected to last several hours as emergency responders work on site.
Official Statements and Ongoing Investigations
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine expressed his deep concern and prayers for those involved in the accident. The incident is under investigation, and more details are expected to be released as the investigation progresses.
Fran and I are praying for everyone involved in the bus crash east of Columbus today. It is our worst nightmare to have a bus full of children involved in such a terrible crash, and it is certainly the worst nightmare that families and schools can endure. I am with @OSHP now, and…
— Governor Mike DeWine (@GovMikeDeWine) November 14, 2023
What caused the Ohio high school bus accident?
The exact cause is under investigation, but it involved a collision between a charter bus and a semi-truck.
How many people died in the accident?
Six people, including three students, a teacher, and two parents, lost their lives.
Were there any survivors?
Yes, 15 people were injured, and several others were unharmed and taken to a reunification center.
What has been the response to the accident?
Emergency services responded promptly, and there is ongoing support from the school community and organizations like the Red Cross.