A tour bus carrying students and their chaperones was rear-ended by a semi-truck about 26 miles east of Columbus. Three people have been confirmed dead in the fiery collision which ensued. So far, 18 are listed as injured, including 15 of the students. No information has been released regarding identities of the deceased.
Bus full of students
The commercial tour bus operated by Pioneer Trails happened to be carrying “57 people, including students from Tuscarawas Valley Local School District in eastern Ohio.”
The group were enroute to Ohio School Boards’ Association conference in Columbus on Tuesday morning, November 14.
Later reports indicate that along with the bus and the semi-truck which plowed into it just before 9 a.m., three other vehicles were involved. Specifics of exactly what happened haven’t been released yet.
Numerous authorities and other agencies are on the scene following a mass casualty incident that occurred in Licking County… pic.twitter.com/wblJG67yRN
— R A W S A L E R T S (@rawsalerts) November 14, 2023
As related by Sean Grady, Licking County’s emergency management agency director, the crash occurred on I-70 West near the Smoke Road underpass.
Because the bus held multiple occupants, dispatchers automatically declared it a “mass casualty incident, level 3.” That indicates “10 or more people may have been hurt” and alerts all the first responders in the area.
“A large number of emergency responders arrived at the scene, and dozens of emergency vehicles remained at the crash site hours after it happened.” According to school district staff, “the bus had band students on board.”
Devastating and heartbreaking
The tragic incident was described by district Superintendent Dr. Derek Varansky as “devastating and heartbreaking.” he released a statement on social media breaking the news to local families.
“Today, a charter bus carrying Tusky Valley students and chaperones on the way to the Ohio School Boards’ Association conference in Columbus was involved in a very serious accident,” he relates.
Ohio – Semi-Truck Rear-Ends a Charter Bus Carrying High School Students, Teachers, and Parents on I-70
3 at least dead, 15 hospitalized
Five vehicles were involved in the crash, including a Pioneer Trails charter bus that was transporting students from the Tuscarawas Valley… pic.twitter.com/k6W3tR7VFk
— UltraMJTruth (@MJTruthUltra) November 14, 2023
Without much in the way of solid information coming in, he tried to explain as much as he could. “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.”
While a serious tragedy, he’s confidant the district can heal from it. “Our Trojan family is strong, and it will take that strength and love to get throughout these coming challenging days.” As soon as they got word of the bus crash, “organizers canceled the conference the students were headed to.“