Report: Semi followed Tusky Valley band charter bus ‘too close’, causing fatal crash

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A tragic accident on Interstate 70 in Licking County, Ohio, resulting in the loss of six lives, including three high school students and three adults connected to the Tusky Valley Band, was detailed in a report and accompanying footage released by the Ohio Department of Public Safety.

The incident, which occurred on November 14, unfolded when a 2019 semi, owned by Hebron-based trucking company Mid State Systems, allegedly followed too closely in traffic and failed to decelerate. The semi collided with another vehicle before striking a charter bus carrying students from Tuscarawas Valley Middle-High School.

According to the report, the bus, a Nissan Murano, a Toyota Highlander, and a Volvo truck were all heading westbound on I-70, slowing down for traffic when the semi struck the Murano. The impact forced the Murano into the rear-end of the bus, pushing it into the road where it collided with the Highlander. The bus was then forced into a Volvo, and the Highlander spun into the left lane before the bus struck the rear-end of the Volvo.

None of the bus passengers, as indicated in the report, were wearing seatbelts. The report does not clarify whether the bus, owned by Pioneer Trails, Inc., was equipped with seatbelts.

Despite the severity of the incident, the report states that none of the involved drivers were found to be distracted or under the influence. The driver of the semi reportedly passed a drug and alcohol test. However, at the time of the report, the results for the driver of the Nissan Murano were unknown.

Authorities continue to investigate the circumstances surrounding the crash to determine any further contributing factors.