A Northeastern Local Schools District bus was involved in a two-vehicle crash involving a small car at east U.S. 40 and I-70 in Harmony Twp., Clark County, on Wednesday, May 9, 2018. BILL LACKEY / STAFF

Multiple Clark County school bus crashes raise awareness on safety, cost

Two crashes involving school buses this week have caused officials to ask for raised awareness about driving near buses and led to work to get those vehicles back into service for the districts.

On Wednesday, a Northeastern Local School District bus was one of two vehicles involved in an afternoon crash on U.S. 40 near Interstate 70 in Harmony Twp.

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There were three people on the bus: the driver and two students. The school bus driver was taken to the hospital and later released, and no other injuries were reported. The driver of a red Nissan Versa was cited for failure to stop.

The bus had to be towed from the scene because one of the fenders was pushed into a tire. A mirror was also broken.

Then less than a day later, on Thursday, another school bus was involved in a crash in the area. A Springfield City School District bus was involved in a two-vehicle crash, said Cherie Moore, the supervisor of communications for the school district.

It happened Thursday morning on the way to school, but it was a minor collision on Derr and Home Road, she said. There were 32 high school students and the driver on the bus.

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John Kronour, the Northeastern schools superintendent, said Wednesday’s incident caused more damage to the bus than has been common with other crashes involving school buses at districts where he has worked.

“This has probably been the most severe since I have been here in three years but we have had a couple, I would call them, minor fender benders,” he said.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol said there were 14 crashes that involved buses in Clark County in 2017, and eight of those involved school buses. There was only minor damage reported and no injuries among those crashes.

In Ohio, between 2012 and 2016, there were 6,606 crashes involving school buses, leading to 16 deaths and 2,317 injuries, according to the state patrol.

Nationwide, more than 20 million K-12 students ride buses each school day, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.

At Northeastern, the district has not had to use its own funds to repair damages for buses involved in crashes because drivers involved in the incidents had insurance that covered it.

The cost of damage from Wednesday’s crash has not been determined. The bus is out of service and will have to be re-certified by the state, which is a standard practice for crashes involving school buses.

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