TUSCARAWAS COUNTY, Ohio (WJW) – Three students, members of the band at Tuscarawas Valley High School in Zoarville, were honored by an entire community inside the football field Tuesday night.
They were among six people killed when their charter bus was struck from behind by a semi-truck outside of Columbus in Licking County Tuesday morning.
The Ohio State High Patrol identified the students as 18-year-old senior John W. Mosely, of Mineral City, 18-year-old senior Jeffery “JD” Worrell, of Bolivar and 15-year-old sophomore Katelyn Owens, of Mineral City.
They were headed to what the superintendent called a once in a lifetime event — to present at the Ohio School Boards Association conference.
The other three people who lost their lives were a high school teacher, 56-year-old Dave Kennat, of Navarre, and two parent chaperones, 39-year-old Kristy Gaynor, of Zoar, and 45-year-old Shannon Wigfield, of Bolivar, who were following behind in a vehicle.
Residents of the small town packed the football stadium, with a line that went far into the parking lot.
Superintendent Dr. Derek Varansky called it one of the darkest days in the small rural community’s history and the worst day of his life.
People cried, but mostly remained silent as the rural community remembered the six people who lost their lives and the many others who were injured.
In a statement Tuesday night, the superintendent confirmed that 20 students were taken to Columbus-area hospitals with injuries. So far, the district says 18 students have been released to their parents and two others are still hospitalized with serious but non-life-threatening injuries.
As part of the ceremony, six candles were lit to remember the lives lost so tragically and too soon.
The superintendent says the school will be open Wednesday so that the school community can be together to support each other.
Pastors and grief counselors will also be on hand to help staff and students cope with the loss.