First day of school in Ohio marred by school bus accident in which one student died, nearly two dozen more injured

August 23, 2023
Ben Marquis

Tuesday was the first day of school for one particular district in Ohio and that morning began with tragedy as a school bus carrying 52 children was involved in a fatal and injurious accident, according to the Western Journal.

One student was killed and 23 others were injured, including one listed in serious condition, and an investigation into exactly what occurred has been launched.

School bus involved in fatal accident

WHIO-TV reported that Sgt. Tyler Ross of the Ohio State Highway Patrol explained that the incident occurred around 8:15 am as a bus for the Northwestern Local School District, which was traveling westbound on a local road, was struck by another vehicle headed eastbound on the same road.

That other vehicle, a 2010 Honda Odyssey minivan, reportedly crossed over the center line and forced the bus driver to drive onto the shoulder of the road in an unsuccessful effort to avoid the collision that caused it to ultimately overturn in the grass along the side of the road.

One student dead, 23 others injured

WCMH reported that one of the "elementary" children on board the bus was ejected from the vehicle and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Of the 52 children who were on board, 23 of them ended up in local hospitals for treatment, including 13 who were transported by paramedics and another 10 who were taken by their own parents. One of those students is currently listed in serious condition while the other 22 reportedly sustained unspecified non-life-threatening injuries.

The 68-year-old bus driver suffered only minor injuries and did not go to the hospital, while the driver and passenger in the van were taken to a hospital for treatment of the non-life-threatening injuries that they had sustained in the wreck.

According to WHIO-TV, the Dayton Children's Hospital confirmed Tuesday afternoon that 20 of the students had been treated and released while two others remained hospitalized. The driver and passenger of the van were taken to Springfield Regional Medical Center but it was unclear if they had already been released or remained hospitalized.

In response to the incident, Republican Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said in a statement posted to social media, "This morning’s school bus accident in Clark Co. is truly heartbreaking. Fran and I offer our sincere condolences to the family of the young child who was killed.

"Our hearts also go out to those on the bus and their families, peers, and teachers. Our prayers are with you all," he added.

Unlicensed driver of van now criminally charged

On Wednesday, WKEF reported that the driver of the van, identified as Hermanio Joseph, 35, of Springfield, was criminally charged with Aggravated Vehicular Homicide in relation to his alleged role in causing the school bus to crash by way of his reckless driving.

That particular charge appears to be a third-degree felony in the state that is punishable by nine months to three years in prison, a fine of up to $10,000, and a three-year to lifetime suspension of a driver's license.

According to Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers, Joseph produced only an Ohio identification card and a Mexican driver's license when questioned following the incident -- which is not valid in the state and has raised questions about his immigration status.

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