Officials say a charter bus carrying 57 people, including Tusky Valley band students, was rear-ended by a semi truck on Interstate 70 in Etna Tuesday morning, killing three students, two chaperones and a high school teacher.
John Mosley, an 18-year-old senior, was described by classmates as always welcoming, funny and a great drum player who was also involved in drama and choir.
Fellow senior Jeffrey Worrell, 18, was also a drummer in the Tusky Valley band who classmates and family remember as the most amazing, outgoing and kind person. He was someone who put others ahead of himself. Jeffrey was also involved in choir, drama, pep club and speech.
The youngest, 15-year-old sophomore Katelyn Owens, was known for her hard work ethic, friends say. Owens played the clarinet in the band.
“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,” the school district said in a statement on Facebook.
Dave Kennat, a 56-year-old high school teacher, was killed in a separate vehicle, along with two chaperones. Kennat was described by students as incredibly enthusiastic about math, kind and compassionate. He was the former director of Camp Wakonda, who became an amazing teacher and a genuinely kind human being.
Kristy Gaynor, 39, was described as a frequent band chaperone and a mother of three. Friends remember Kristy as a devoted parent and a constant help to area foster families.
Shannon Wigfield, a 45-year-old chaperone on Tuesday, was also an English language arts teacher for 24 years at the Buckeye Career Center. The school on Wednesday described Wigfield as someone who was adored by coworkers and students and will be remembered for her loving smile and positive attitude.
The community started a GoFundMe account to help support the Tusky Valley band and their families after this tragedy. Donations will be placed in a bank fund organized by The Trojan Foundation.
As of Wednesday afternoon, it has already raised more than $25,000.
“We cannot say thank you enough to everyone across the nation for reaching out to offer support,” Superintendent Varansky said in another statement on Facebook. “Please continue to keep our district in your thoughts and prayers.”
The National Transportation Safety Board is still investigating the crash, which happened while the students were heading to perform at the Ohio School Boards Association conference.
Community members came together for a vigil Tuesday night, mourning the loss of loved ones in what the superintendent called one of the darkest days in the small rural community’s history.