Ohio Highway Crash: At Least 6 Dead, 18 Others Injured

On November 14, 2023, a crash happened on Interstate 70 in Etna, Ohio, involving a bus carrying high school students and chaperones from the Tuscarawas Valley Local School District. The collision, which included five vehicles, resulted in the loss of six lives and left 18 others injured.

Ohio Highway Crash: At Least 6 Dead, 18 Others Injured

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The victims of this incident have been identified as John W. Mosely, 18, of Mineral City; Jeffery D. Worrell, 18, of Bolivar; Katelyn N. Owens, 15, of Mineral City; Dave Kennat, 56, of Navarre; Kristy Gaynor, 39, of Zoar; and Shannon Wigfield, 45, of Bolivar.

These individuals, whose lives were lost, were either students or adults associated with the Tuscarawas Valley School District.

The crash involved a total of five vehicles, including the charter bus, a semitruck, and three other passenger vehicles.

The vehicles were traveling westbound on Interstate 70, approximately 26 miles east of Columbus, around 9 a.m. At least three of the vehicles caught fire in the aftermath, adding to the chaos of the incident.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol is investigating the cause of the crash, and a team from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is on its way to the scene to conduct a safety investigation.

First responders and emergency personnel from across Licking County and eastern Franklin County were dispatched to the crash site, where they faced the task of rescuing survivors, treating injuries, and managing the aftermath of the collision.

The incident urged authorities to classify it as a “mass casualty incident, level 3,” indicating the need for medical attention.

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Governor Mike DeWine expressed sorrow during a news conference at the scene, calling the crash a “worst nightmare” involving a bus full of children.

Flags at government buildings in the affected county and at the Ohio Statehouse were ordered to fly at half-staff as a mark of respect for the lives lost in this event.

The students and chaperones on the bus were to the Ohio School Boards Association conference in Columbus, a journey that was meant to be an educational experience.

However, in light of the crash, the conference organizers decided to cancel the event, acknowledging the situation.

The cancellation underlines the impact the incident had on the educational community and the disruption of what was supposed to be a positive gathering.

As news of the crash spread, support systems mobilized to assist those affected. The Red Cross sent 30 units of blood to a hospital in the Mount Carmel Health System to aid the victims.

A site was set up at a United Methodist Church in Etna, where students not requiring medical attention could gather to contact their loved ones.

The toll on the survivors and their families is immeasurable, and the rally to provide assistance during this difficult time.

In a Facebook post, he stated, “This is our worst nightmare when we have a bus full of children involved in a crash.”

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The district is focused on reaching out to the families affected by the incident and providing support to the entire school.

The bus involved in the crash belonged to Pioneer Trails, a family-owned bus business based in Millersburg, Ohio.

In a statement, the company expressed condolences to those affected and full cooperation with authorities in determining the cause of the accident.

The company’s safety record, as per U.S. Department of Transportation inspections, indicated no evidence of noncompliance with safety requirements, with only one other crash involving an injury in the past 24 months.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) dispatched a team of investigators to the crash site to conduct a thorough safety investigation.

Conflicting information about the sequence of events has emerged, but reports suggest that the bus and an SUV encountered a “traffic queue” from an earlier crash, leading to the collision with a tractor-trailer.

Jennifer Homendy, the chair of the NTSB, highlighted the need for an investigation to determine the exact circumstances of the crash.

The cooperation of all parties involved, including Pioneer Trails, the bus company, is in piecing together the events leading to the accident.

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