Northwestern school bus crash kills 1 student, injures dozens: What we know now

A student died and dozens of others were injured, including one with serious injuries, after an elementary school bus for Northwestern Local Schools overturned Tuesday morning in a crash involving an oncoming vehicle.

>> Community groups plan vigils tonight after bus crash

Here is what we know now.

How many kids were on the bus?

There were 52 students on the elementary school bus heading to school for the first day of classes.

Twenty-three students were transported to area hospitals, including 10 who were transported in personal vehicles by family members.

The student who died at the scene was ejected from the bus during the crash.

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

Injured students were transported to hospitals including Kettering Health Springfield’s Emergency Center, Dayton Children’s Hospital and Mercy Health - Springfield. The crash was declared a “mass casualty” incident, meaning that 10 or more patients needed to be seen or treated following the incident.

How and where did the crash happen?

The crash happened about 8:14 a.m. in the 4100 block of Troy Road (Ohio 41) at Lawrenceville near the German Twp. fire station, northwest of Springfield in Clark County.

The school bus was traveling west when a 2010 Honda Odyssey headed east went left of center and into the path of the oncoming school bus, according to Ohio State Highway Patrol. The bus driver attempted to avoid the Honda by driving onto the shoulder but still collided with the minivan.

The bus and van went off the side of the road, with the bus rolling onto its side.

What happened to the drivers?

The driver of the minivan, Hermanio Joseph, 35, of Springfield, and the passenger of the minivan were taken to the hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening.

The school bus driver, Alfred Collier, 68, suffered minor injuries and was not transported to the hospital.

Who were the responders?

Dispatchers said nine EMS units were dispatched to the scene as of 8:25 a.m.

Multiple agencies rushed to the crash scene, including the German Twp. Fire Department and EMS, the Clark County Sheriff’s Office, the Ohio State Highway Patrol, the Springfield Twp. Fire Department and EMS, Clark County Coroner’s Office, Clark County Engineer’s Office, Springfield Fire Rescue Division, Springfield Police Division, Dan’s Towing and the Ohio Department of Transportation.

The Clark County Sheriff’s Office immediately requested medical helicopters be put on standby to respond.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol is leading the investigation into the crash.

How were parents notified?

Northwestern Local Schools alerted families about the accident on Facebook.

“There has been a bus accident on one of our elementary routes,” the post stated.

If your child was involved in the bus accident this morning, you will be notified very soon. A parent reunification...

Posted by Northwestern Local Schools on Tuesday, August 22, 2023

In a second post, the district said families would be notified if their child was involved in the bus accident, and they would be able to pick their child up once they’ve been contacted.

Parents rushed to the area, and a parent unification center was established at the German Twp. Firehouse, 3940 Lawrenceville Drive.

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

How safe are buses?

School buses are among the safest vehicles on the road, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says, with less than 1% of all traffic fatalities involving children on school transportation vehicles.

Fatalities in school-transportation-related crashes were relatively the same in 2019 and 2021 — 111 and 108 fatalities, respectively — along with a drop to 54 fatalities in 2020, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It’s estimated that of the fatalities involved with school bus crashes, only about 5% were school bus passengers, the majority being occupants of vehicles other than the school bus, according to the National Safety Council.