Licking County Emergency management director Sean Grady confirmed that six people were killed in the accident, which occurred outside Etna, Ohio, near the Smoke Road underpass, just east of Columbus.
Dispatchers classified the incident as a “mass casualty incident, level 3,” according to the Columbus Dispatch. The designation indicates that 10 or more people may have been injured and that paramedics, fire crews and hospital readiness will be needed in the region. “Casualty” in this use does not necessarily mean “death.”
The crash occurred around 8:15am. Those injured were transported to nearby hospitals for treatment.
The bus was carrying 57 band students from Tuscarawas Valley Schools, located approximately 120 miles northeast of Columbus and around 43 miles south of Akron. The district’s superintendent, Derek Varansky, confirmed Tuesday that the crash involved students from the school.
The accident shut-down parts of I-70 at State Route 310 and westbound at State Route 158.
A pair of school busses — accompanied by police escorts — arrived at the scene of the crash approximately two hours after the impact. Several dozen people from the crash scene climbed on board and were taken away from the site approximately twenty minutes after the buses arrived.
There were reportedly 57 people in total on board the charter bus, according to the Associated Press.
Three dead and 15 injured in Ohio bus crash involving high schoolers
Students involved in crash were from Tuscarawas Valley Schools in northeast Ohio
Students join hands and walk across football field at prayer vigil
00:58 , Mike Bedigan
Following the conclusion of the vigil, students joined hands and walked across the football field.
Many could be heard sobbing loudly.
Victims of Ohio bus crash identified
00:44 , Mike Bedigan
A 15-year old student was one of the six people that was killed in the bus crash.
School district superintendent Dr Derek Varansky named the victims in a vigil held at the Tuscarawas High School on Tuesday evening.
Three teenagers – Katelyn Owens, 15, Jeffery Worrell, 18, and John Mosely, 18 – were among the dead.
High school teacher Dave Kennat, 56, and parent chaperones Kristy Gaynor, 39, and Shannon Wigfield, 45, were also killed in the incident, Dr Varansky said.
Three students among the dead following Ohio bus crash - school confirms
00:35 , Mike Bedigan
Three students of the Tuscarawas Valley High School died in the bus crash on Tuesday, a the school district superintendent has confirmed.
It was also confirmed that one teacher and two parent chaperones had also died.
Of the 20 students that were transported to hospital following the incident, 18 have now been released. Two remain in hospital with “serious but non-life threatening” injuries.
“Our hearts are broken for the tragic accident that happened today involving members of our high school band on their way to perform at the Ohio civil Association Conference,” Dr Derek Varansky said, addressing the vigil.
“We are saddened to share that we lost three students in the accident. Students who were bright lights full of life and who lost their lives way too young.
“In addition, a car following the bus, which contained one of our teachers in two parents chaperones were involved in the accident. And tragically all three lost their lives.
“There are no words for the sheer magnitude of loss in grief felt by all of us.”
Images from prayer vigil following Ohio bus crash
00:13 , Mike Bedigan
Hundreds gather at local football stadium for prayer vigil
00:07 , Mike Bedigan
Hundreds of people gathered at the Tuscarawas Valley High School football stadium on Tuesday night for a prayer vigil in honour of the victims of the bus crash and their families.
Band students from the Tuscarawas Valley School district were onboard the bus that was involved in the fatal accident.
Six candles were placed on a tressel table in front of the bleachers. Authorities have confirmed that six people have died in the tragic accident.
Ohio congressman sends prayers to victims of crash
23:54 , Mike Bedigan
Congressman Troy Balderson, of Ohio’s 12th Congressional District, added his condolences to the victims of the crash.
“I am devastated to hear about the terrible crash on I-70 involving a semitruck and a bus carrying students. My prayers are with all those involved, and I will continue to closely monitor the situation,” Mr Balderson wrote on X.
I am devastated to hear about the terrible crash on I-70 involving a semitruck and a bus carrying students. My prayers are with all those involved, and I will continue to closely monitor the situation.
— Congressman Troy Balderson (@RepBalderson) November 14, 2023
GoFundMe page set up to support crash victims and their families
23:33 , Mike Bedigan
A GoFundMe page, set up by local business owner in Bolivar, Ohio, has raised over $3,000 in just four hours.
The page, set up by Tara Risner – owner of Haven Shala – is raising funds to support the families of the crash.
“Today our community is devastated after the fatal accident involving Tusky Valley Band students, chaperones, & faculty.Our hearts are so heavy,” the page description read.
“We send our love & support to the victims and families of all who were involved. Please support our community, and donate towards recovery efforts. All proceeds will go toward the Tusky Valley Band & families.”
‘I’m sick to my stomach’ – locals react to crash news
23:01 , Mike Bedigan
Parents expressed their shock and dismay at news of the crash as they picked up their children from the Tuscarawas Valley Middle-High School on Tuesday morning.
"I'm sick. I'm sick to my stomach," parent Laurie Fragasse told The Columbus Dispatch.
Ms Fragasse’s daughter, Camrynn, an eighth grader, said she was scared and sad. “I don’t really know how to feel right now,” she said.
Part of highway reopened while investigation continues
22:37 , Mike Bedigan
As of about 4:30 pm local time onTuesday, eastbound lanes of I-70 had reopened, while authorities continue to investigate the fatal crash.
Governor Mike DeWine said that the investigation would take some time.
Matt Bruning, spokeperson for the Ohio Department of Transportation said pavement repairs would be needed on westbound lanes on the I-70 where the crash occurred because of the fire that resulted and its impact on the pavement.
A construction crew is standing by to make those repairs as quickly as possible, The Columbus Dispatch reported.
Prayer vigil planned for victims of bus crash
22:00 , Graig Graziosi
A prayer vigil is being planned for the victims and the families of the victims of a fatal bus accident that ocurred outside Columbus, according to Cleveland 19.
The prayer vigil will take place at 7pm on Tuesday evening for the Tuscarawas County community. It will be held at the school district’s football stadium.
Band students from the Tuscarawas Valley School district were onboard the bus that was involved in the fatal accident. Six people have been confirmed dead in the wake of the accident, though their identities have not been made public at the time of this post.
Images from the fatal Ohio bus crash
21:45 , Graig Graziosi
Bus company is ‘cooperating’ with crash investigation
21:25 , Graig Graziosi
Pioneer Trails, the company that provided the bus carrying high school students involved in the fatal crash outside Columbus, released a statement saying it was cooperating with law enforcement’s investigation.
“Pioneer is fully cooperating with the authorities as we work to find the cause of the accident,” the company’s statement said. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to all of those impacted by this accident. As this is an ongoing investigation, there will be no further comments.”
According to a Columbus Dispatch analysis, the company has a satisfactory rating from the US Department of Transportation following inspections, meaning there is no evidence that the company is noncompliant with safety standards.
The company’s busses have only been involved in one other accident that caused an injury in the last 24 months, according to USDOT data.
Death toll climbs to six in fiery bus crash near Columbus
21:06 , Graig Graziosi
Local officials have told The Independent that six people have died in a crash involving semi-trucks and a charter bus filled with high school band students on their way to perform at a conference.
Licking County Emergency management director Sean Grady confirmed to The Independent that six people have died as a result of the crash on Tuesday.
At least four vehicles were involved in the crash. It is unclear if those killed were from the bus or were other motorists involved in the incident.
Lt Governor releases statement after bus crash
20:49 , Graig Graziosi
Lt Governor John Husted released a statement offering his condolences following a multi-vehicle accident that involved a charter bus full of high school band students.
“Tina and I would like to send our heartfelt condolences and prayers to the victims and their families involved in the crash in Licking County this morning which involved students from Tuscarawas Valley Local Schools. We hope all who are injured in the crash may have a swift and complete recovery,” he wrote.
Tina and I would like to send our heartfelt condolences and prayers to the victims and their families involved in the crash in Licking County this morning which involved students from Tuscarawas Valley Local Schools.
We hope all who are injured in the crash may have a swift and…
— Jon Husted (@JonHusted) November 14, 2023
WATCH: Smoke rises from wreckage of Ohio bus crash that killed four, injured 15
19:55 , Graig Graziosi
American Red Cross sends blood to area hospital treating crash victims
19:40 , Graig Graziosi
The American Red Cross of Central and Southern Ohio reportedly fulfilled a request for blood from a hospital in the area of the crash that reportedly killed four and injured at least 15 others on Tuesday.
The organisation sent 30 units to a hospital in the Mount Carmel Health System, according to Marita Salkowski, the regional communications director for the Red Cross chapter.
19:25 , Graig Graziosi
A reunification site has been established at the Etna United Methodist Church for families of those impacted by the crash on Tuesday.
Of the 57 people on the charter bus, 34 students were taken to the reunification site. Those taken to the site were not injured in the crash.
“There’s been a steady stream of parents arriving since I got here around noon though,” Don Hawkins Regional Communications Manager Red Cross, told The Independent.
Ohio School Board Association cancels conference after crash
19:10 , Graig Graziosi
The Ohio School Board Association announced Tuesday it was cancelling its conference in response to the crash involving high school band members.
The band students were on their way to Columbus to perform at the conference when the accident occurred, according to police reports.
“Right now, our focus is on providing support to Tuscarawas Valley. That includes making grief counselors from our trade show available. We are praying for the entire Tuscarawas Valley family,” the association said in a statement.
At least two semi-trucks were involved in fiery crash
18:55 , Graig Graziosi
Local press at the scene of the crash are reporting that two of the vehicles involved in the crash were semi-trucks. One truck rear-ended a charter bus carrying high school band students.
A car was also reportedly involved in the crash, according to WSYX.
The collision caused the bus to catch fire, the broadcaster reports.
Several are injured in Ohio after a charter bus was involved in a "very serious" crash — with high school students, teachers and parents on board, according to the governor.@mikewsyx6 has more from Etna, Ohio. pic.twitter.com/DZv9t8pn34
— ABC News Live (@ABCNewsLive) November 14, 2023
18 people transported to local hospitals from crash site, more vehicles involved
18:40 , Graig Graziosi
Licking County Emergency Management Agency Director Sean Grady told WBNS CBS 10 that five vehicles were involved in the fatal crash, and that 18 people from the bus had been taken to seven nearby hospitals.
It is unclear if all 18 of the individuals transported to nearby hospitals were injured.
Governor Mike DeWine offers condolences to victims
18:15 , Graig Graziosi
Governor Mike DeWine of Ohio offered his condolences to the victims of a bus crash that reportedly killed four people. The bus involved in the accident was carrying high school band students from the Tuscarawas Valley Schools in northeast Ohio.
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
A fourth individual is reportedly dead
17:50 , Graig Graziosi
A fourth person has reportedly died following a traffic accident in which a semi-truck rear-ended a bus filled with high schoolers.
Sean Grady, the Licking County Emergency Management Director, confirmed to The Independent that a fourth person had died.
The bus was carrying nearly 60 band students, instructors, and chaperones from Tuscarawas Valley Schools, a district near Akron, Ohio.
Students involved in crash were from Tuscarawas Valley Schools in northeast Ohio
17:18 , Graig Graziosi
The students involved in the crash were band members from the Tuscarawas Valley Schools district in northeast Ohio, according to their superintendent.
Dr Derek Varansky confirmed Tuesday morning that the district’s students were involved in the crash:
Dear Tusky Valley School Community, I have devastating and heartbreaking news to report.
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. We understand from law enforcement that there may be multiple serious injuries and we are working to learn the details. We will share news with you as we are able, including our plans for upcoming school days and events. 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. Our Trojan family is strong, and it will take that strength and love to get throughout these coming challenging days.
What is a ‘mass casualty incident'
17:06 , Graig Graziosi
The Columbus Dispatch reported that local dispatchers had referred to the bus crash just outside the city as a “mass casualty incident, level 3.”
In this instance, the word “casualty” refers to individuals who have either been killed or injured.
The designation indicates that 10 or more people may have been injured in a single incident, and warns fire, paramedics, and local hospitals around the region to be ready in the event they are needed for assistance.
Police have confirmed that three people involved in the crash have died. There were 57 people on the bus, according to the Associated Press.
Welcome to the live blog
16:54 , Graig Graziosi
Welcome to The Indepdendent’s live coverage of a fatal collision involving a bus filled with high school students just outside of Columbus, Ohio.
According to local media in Licking County, the bus was transporting students from a school in eastern Ohio. Approximately 57 people were on board when the truck rear-ended the bus around 8.30am on Interstate 70 West.