Bus crash declared ‘mass casualty event’ as first responders work together to treat students

More than 20 patients taken to Dayton Children’s.

First responders and area hospitals declared Tuesday’s bus crash in Clark County a mass casualty event because of the number of people aboard, but they credited people at the scene and staff in the emergency rooms for making sure those injured received quality care fast.

The accident happened about 8:14 a.m. in the 4100 block of Troy Road (Ohio 41) at Lawrenceville near the German Twp. fire station. The bus was from Northwestern Local Schools, which was beginning classes for the 2023-24 year.

A student who died was ejected from the bus during the crash, according to Sgt. Tyler Ross of the Ohio State Highway Patrol. Twenty-three students were transported to local hospitals, including 10 who were transported in personal vehicles by family members. One of the injured students has serious injuries, and the other students have non-life-threatening injuries, according to OSHP.

German Twp. Fire Captain Richard Craig said the department arrived on the scene shortly after the crash and were helped by others getting students off the bus for immediate treatment. They then began to triage before mutual aid from throughout the county started to arrive.

Crews from different agencies were assigned to specific patients, transporting them to hospitals throughout the region, Craig said.

“We were very happy with everyone’s assistance ... we had enough manpower to go ahead and handle the scene,” Craig said.

Help came from around Clark County.

Dispatchers put out the “all-call,” New Carlisle Fire Chief Stephen Trusty said. This call meant all fire departments would send medics to the crash.

More than 20 children involved in the school bus crash were seen by staff at Dayton Children’s Hospital, the hospital system said.

“The Greater Dayton Area Hospital Association has declared a mass casualty incident, per its protocol,” a statement from Dayton Children’s said. “Dayton Children’s managed the situation with normal operations. Dayton Children’s emergency department saw 22 children from this accident. Some came by ambulance and some were brought by their parents.”

Declaring this crash as a mass casualty event is standard protocol whenever there are 10 patients or more that need to be seen and treated following an incident, the Greater Dayton Area Hospital Association said.

“That triggers our regional mass casualty incident policy and protocol, and so that helps us activate all of the necessary protocols and events within the state patient tracking system and sends out various alerts to our member hospitals to ensure that we have situational readiness should multiple hospitals need to be ready to respond and receive patients,” said Sarah Hackenbracht, president and CEO of the Greater Dayton Area Hospital Association.

Kettering Health also reported seeing patients from the crash. Six patients were transported to Kettering Health Springfield’s Emergency Center, according to a statement from the hospital system.

Mercy Health - Springfield Regional Medical Center treated and released nine patients who were involved in the crash, spokesperson Erica Blake said.

The mass casualty protocols help prepare local hospitals for seeing multiple patients by coordinating with local county agencies and first responders, like EMS and police.

“These are the same types of incidents that we train and prepare for multiple times a year to ensure that we are ready as hospitals and that we are readily able to coordinate with our local counties, their emergency management agencies, and then the series of first responders who are the first individuals on scene,” Hackenbracht said.

Involved parties also hold regular training events and meet monthly throughout the year, Hackenbracht said.

“While this has been a significant tragedy for that community, we will continue to be prepared and ready to respond to these types of incidents,” Hackenbracht said.

>> PHOTOS: Northwestern parents rush to be reunited with children after school bus crash