Ohio interstate crash involving busload of high school students leaves 3 dead, sends 15 to hospital

Nov 14, 2023, 7:41 AM | Updated: 3:08 pm

ETNA, Ohio (AP) — A charter bus filled with high school students was rear-ended by a semitruck on an Ohio highway Tuesday morning, leaving three people dead and 15 others injured, officials said.

Five vehicles were involved in the crash, including a Pioneer Trails charter bus that was carrying students and chaperones from the Tuscarawas Valley Local School District in eastern Ohio, said Licking County Emergency Management Agency Director Sean Grady. There were a total of 57 people onboard, he said.

“This is our worst nightmare, when we have a bus full of children involved in a crash,” Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said during a news conference at the scene. “Prayers go out to the families, everyone who was on the bus.”

Lt. Nathan Dennis of the Ohio State Highway Patrol confirmed that there were fatalities but declined to say how many. He said 18 people altogether were taken from the bus. The injured were taken to seven hospitals for treatment.

The bus was carrying the students and chaperones to an Ohio School Boards Association conference in Columbus, Tuscarawas Valley Superintendent Derek Varansky said.

“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,” Varansky said in a Facebook post.

The conference was canceled after organizers learned of the crash, said spokesperson Jeff Chambers.

The crash took place shortly before 9 a.m. on Interstate 70 West in Licking County, about 26 miles (42 kilometers) east of Columbus. The cause was not immediately known.

In a written statement, Pioneer Trails offered its condolences to those affected by the crash and said it was cooperating with authorities, but would have no further comment pending the investigation.

The Red Cross sent 30 units of blood to a hospital in the Mount Carmel Health System to help victims, said Marita Salkowski, regional communications director for the American Red Cross of Central and Southern Ohio. A center was set up at a United Methodist Church in Etna where bus passengers not in need of medical attention could go to contact loved ones, she said.

As a line of cars snaked into the Tuscarawas Valley Middle-High School parking lot Tuesday morning, school officials spoke with parents before they went inside to pick up their kids, the Columbus Dispatch reported.

“I’m sick. I’m sick to my stomach,” the newspaper quoted parent Laurie Fragasse as saying when she picked up her daughter.

Numerous emergency workers responded to the crash scene, and Ohio Department of Transportation cameras from the area showed smoke coming from the crash site. Police officers were blocking nearby entrance ramps to I-70 East and West, increasing traffic along the road leading to the interstate.

The National Transportation Safety Board said a team of investigators was expected to arrive at the site Tuesday evening.

The Ohio collision was the second recent fatal crash in the U.S. involving high school students on a charter bus. In September, two people were killed and several others injured when a charter bus carrying high school students to band camp veered off a New York highway.


Seewer reported from Toledo, Ohio. Associated Press writers Ron Todt in Philadelphia; and Bruce Shipkowski in Toms River, New Jersey, contributed to this report.

National News

Associated Press

DeSantis wants to cut 1,000 jobs, but asks for $1 million to sue over Florida State’s football snub

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis recommended Florida eliminate more than 1,000 state jobs in a spending proposal released Tuesday that cuts the current budget by more $4.6 billion while maintaining popular sales tax holidays. DeSantis is calling for a $114.4 billion budget. Unlike most years, the presidential candidate announced his budget far […]

7 minutes ago

FILE - Supreme Court Associate Justice Sandra Day O'Connor poses for a photo in 1982. O'Connor who ...

Associated Press

Justice Sandra Day O’Connor will lie in repose at the Supreme Court on Dec. 18

WASHINGTON (AP) — Retired Justice Sandra Day O’Connor will lie in repose at the Supreme Court on Dec. 18, with a funeral service at the National Cathedral the following day, the court said Monday. The first woman on the Supreme Court, O’Connor died Friday at age 93 in Phoenix. She stepped down from the court […]

45 minutes ago

FILE - Republican presidential candidates from left, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former ...

Associated Press

How to watch the fourth Republican presidential debate and what to look for

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The number of candidates on stage is shrinking, but the fundamentals of Wednesday’s Republican presidential debate may be familiar to anyone who has watched the previous three meetings. No one has yet emerged as the clear Republican alternative to former President Donald Trump, whose lead is so big that he has […]

1 hour ago

Associated Press

US makes offer to bring home jailed Americans Paul Whelan and Evan Gershkovich. Russia rejected it

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration has made a new and significant offer aimed at securing the release of American detainees Paul Whelan and Evan Gershkovich, but Russia has rejected the offer, the State Department said Tuesday. Spokesman Matthew Miller did not reveal the details of the offer nor why Russia had turned it down, […]

2 hours ago

Actor Jonathan Majors arrives at court for his domestic assault trial, Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2023, in Ne...

Associated Press

Jonathan Majors’ accuser said actor’s “violent temper” left her fearful before alleged assault

NEW YORK (AP) — Jonathan Majors’ former girlfriend told a Manhattan jury that the actor was prone to fits of rage that escalated in the months leading up to his arrest for allegedly attacking her in the backseat of a car last spring. During hours of tearful testimony on Tuesday, Grace Jabbari described Majors as […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

Atmospheric river brings heavy rain, flooding and warm winter temperatures to the Pacific Northwest

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — An atmospheric river has brought heavy rain, flooding and warm winter temperatures to the Pacific Northwest, closing roadways and schools as it shattered daily rainfall and temperature records in Washington state. The National Weather Service on Tuesday issued flood warnings in parts of western Washington, including in areas north and east […]

3 hours ago

Ohio interstate crash involving busload of high school students leaves 3 dead, sends 15 to hospital