1 Student Killed, 22 Others Injured in Ohio School Bus Crash

The Northwest Local Schools bus was transporting 52 students on the first day of school when a minivan crossed into its path.
Published: August 23, 2023

UPDATE: The student who lost his life in a school bus crash last week has been identified as 11-year-old Aiden Clark. All children who were hospitalized following the crash have been released.

Classes were canceled Monday at all Northwestern Local Schools to allow students and staff to attend Clark’s funeral. Dozens of school bus drivers from districts in Clark County and around Ohio parked outside the church to show support.

The driver of the vehicle that struck the bus, 35-year-old Hermanio Joseph, was arraigned on a fourth-degree felony vehicular homicide charge and faces up to 12 months in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.

Joseph was denied a request Monday to reduce his bond, which was set at $100,000. Judge Daniel Carey cited Joseph’s risk for flight as the reason for the high bond. He reportedly gave law enforcement a driver’s license from Mexico which was invalid due to his immigration status. Joseph also had an Ohio identification card.

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Assistant County Prosecutor Greg Morris said last week that Joseph is registered as a Haitian immigrant in the state of Florida.

SPRINGFIELD, Ohio — One student was killed and 22 others were injured when a Northwest Local Schools bus collided with another vehicle on the district’s first day of school.

The school bus, which had 52 students on board, was traveling westbound on Route 41 in German Township Tuesday morning when a minivan traveling eastbound crossed into its path, according to a news release from the Ohio State Highway Patrol. The bus driver attempted to avoid the collision by veering onto the shoulder but still made contact with the minivan, causing the bus to flip on its side.

One elementary school student was ejected from the bus and succumbed to fatal injuries at the scene, officials said. Dayton Children’s Hospital told CBS News they treated 22 children from the crash, one with serious injuries. Thirteen were transported to the hospital by emergency medical personnel while 10 were brought by family members.

Nearly all of the injured children were released from the hospital by Tuesday night. The bus driver, identified as 68-year-old Alfred Collier, suffered minor injuries but was not taken to the hospital. The minivan driver has been identified as 35-year-old Hermanio Joseph. Joseph and a 37-year-old passenger were transported to Springfield Regional Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries.

First responders from German Township and the Clark County Sheriff’s Office immediately requested medical helicopters be put on standby, and additional area departments were requested for mutual aid, reports Springfield News-Sun. Nine EMS units were also dispatched to the scene.

A parent reunification center was established at a local firehouse following the crash. The district canceled classes Wednesday and said grief counselors would be available for students, staff, and other community members. The Ohio State Highway Patrol is leading the investigation and said charges may be filed against Joseph.

Why Don’t Most School Buses Have Seatbelts?

Tragic school bus accidents always raise questions about seatbelt safety. In Ohio, large school buses aren’t required to have seatbelts. In fact, only eight states require seatbelts on school buses: Arkansas, California, Florida, Louisiana, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, and Texas.

According to the National Highway Safety Transportation Administration (NHTSA), large school buses distribute crash forces differently than other vehicles and passengers experience much less crash force than those in passenger cars, light trucks, and vans.

“There is no question that seat belts play an important role in keeping passengers safe in these vehicles but school buses are different by design, including a different kind of safety restraint system that works extremely well,” the NHTSA explains.

School buses are designed using “compartmentalization,” meaning children are protected from crashes by strong, closely-spaced seats that have energy-absorbing seat backs.

NHTSA says children are 70 times more likely to get to school safely on a bus than if they are traveling by car.

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