ETNA, Ohio (AP/WJW) — Emergency officials have released the names of the six people who died following a fiery crash that took place on I-70 Tuesday morning. Three were confirmed students, while two others were chaperones and one was a teacher.
A charter bus was carrying band students from a high school when it was rear-ended by a semi-truck, injuring multiple people, according to a Licking County Emergency management official. Five vehicles were involved in the crash.
Ohio State Highway Patrol said in a release issued just after 7 p.m. that three of the people killed were riding on the bus and were pronounced dead at the scene.
They were identified as: senior John W. Mosely, 18, of Mineral City, senior Jeffery “JD” Worrell, 18, of Bolivar and sophomore Katelyn Owens, 15, also of Mineral City.
OSHP said the bus driver and students were taken to area hospitals for injuries and that others were taken to a reunification site.
The other three who were killed in the crash were riding in a separate vehicle. They were identified as high school teacher Dave Kennat, 56, of Navarre, parent/chaperone Kristy Gaynor, 39, of Zoar and parent/chaperone Shannon Wigfield, 45, of Bolivar. They were also pronounced dead at the scene, OSHP said in the statement.
Tuscarawas Valley Schools confirmed in a statement Tuesday night that three of their students were killed and 20 more were taken to five Columbus-area hospitals with injuries.
As of 9 p.m., the district says 18 of those students have been released from the hospital, while two remain in serious but non-life-threatening condition.
There were a total of 57 people onboard the bus. Tuscarawas Valley Schools confirmed earlier in the day that their students were involved in the crash.
Below is the school district’s statement, in part:
Our hearts are broken by the tragic accident that happened today involving members of our high school band on their way to perform at the Ohio School Boards Association conference. 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 and two parent chaperones was involved in the accident. Tragically, all three lost their lives. There are no words for the magnitude of loss and grief felt by all of us.
The accident occurred shortly before 9 a.m. on Interstate 70 West in Licking County, near the Smoke Road underpass. The cause was not immediately known.
Numerous emergency responders were at the scene, and Ohio Department of Transportation cameras from the area showed smoke coming from the crash site. The highway was closed in both directions and numerous traffic delays were being reported. As of 7:15 p.m., the highway was still partially closed.
Mickey Lymon, an investigator with the Licking County Coroner’s Office, said they had been called to the scene, but deferred other questions to the state police.
A full investigation is underway and officials said it’s going to take some time. At first, officials said they were not releasing the details of those who were killed until all families have been notified.
Anyone with information regarding the crash is asked to call the nearest Ohio State Highway Patrol office.
See DeWine’s update below:
This is the second recent fatal crash 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.