Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and members of the Ohio State Highway Patrol addressed reporters on Tuesday following a bus crash that killed three people and injured 15 others.
DeWine stated that families of the victims were still being notified of the crash, which occurred on Interstate 70 near Licking County when a semi-truck rear-ended a charter bus transporting 57 people (including students) from the Tuscarawas Valley Local Schools District.
“I just want to express my deepest sympathy, on behalf of the people of the state of Ohio, to all the families, everyone who has been injured, and every family who had a member that died,” said DeWine.
“It’s the worst nightmare for, I’m sure, the superintendent, the worst nightmare for the family, and the worst nightmare for the teachers.”
DeWine also confirmed most of the students involved in the crash were returning home with their family members following a stay at a reunification center.
The investigation would “take some time,” according to DeWine, while patrol would return to deliver further information after family members of the victims were notified.
“Our hearts go out to Tusky Valley,” DeWine added. “It’s a very tight-knit community [and] rather small school in that part of [Tuscarawas] county. I can only imagine what the community is going through right now.”
DeWine was followed by Lt. Nate Dennis of the Ohio State Highway Patrol, who confirmed the crash involved five vehicles, including the Pioneer Trails bus that chartered Tusky Valley students.
Dennis confirmed the crash was fatal, but did not confirm if any Tusky Valley students were among the victims.
“I can confirm that this is a fatal crash,” said Dennis. “However, until all the proper notifications are made, we’re not going to give any details in regard to that.”
Dennis also stated that 18 people were transported to seven area hospitals following the accident: “At this time, we’re not going to release any names or information about those injuries until the proper notifications are made.”
The affected portion of I-70 has been closed in both directions, with Ohio Department of Transportation Press Secretary Matt Bruning confirming diverted routes for the next several hours during Tuesday’s midday press conference.
“The traffic situation is going to remain in effect for quite some time,” said Bruning. “I-70 eastbound traffic is being diverted off to State Route 310. You can either go north to US-40 or south to 204. If you’re heading westbound, the traffic is being diverted right now at SR-158. However, we do have a secondary crash at SR-37, so for the time being, we’re asking everyone to use SR-79.”