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Feds share report on fiery big rig, high school charter bus crash that killed six in Ohio

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The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) shared findings from an investigation into a major fatality crash involving a high school charter bus that happened in Ohio last month.

The NTSB released a report on December 14, 2023, that looks into the factors that caused last month’s crash in Etna Township, Ohio, that killed six people, including three teenagers.

The crash happened on November 14, 2023, on I-70 near state Route 310 as a westbound charter bus transporting students and chaperones from Tuscarawas Valley Middle-High School was involved in a chain reaction crash with four other vehicles, including two semi trucks.

The NTSB report found that a semi truck driver did not slow for traffic caused by a previous accident on I-70, which led to the multi-vehicle crash.

From the NTSB:

On Tuesday, November 14, 2023, about 8:52 a.m. eastern standard time, a 2019 Freightliner Cascadia truck-tractor in combination with a 2017 Strickland semitrailer (combination vehicle), operated by Mid-State Systems Inc., was traveling west in the right lane of Interstate 70 (I-70) near Etna, in Licking County, Ohio. At this location, I-70 was a divided, four-lane asphalt roadway with a 70-mph speed limit. As the combination vehicle reached the area of milepost 118.7, it encountered a traffic queue that had formed due to an earlier crash that occurred near milepost 117.2. The combination vehicle did not slow and struck the rear of a 2015 Nissan Murano, occupied by the driver and two passengers, traveling west in the right lane as it slowed for the traffic queue. The combination vehicle overrode the Nissan and collided with the rear of a 2009 Van Hool motorcoach occupied by the driver and 54 passengers. The motorcoach struck the rear of a 2006 Toyota Highlander which rotated counterclockwise while traveling forward. The Toyota then struck the left side of a 2014 Volvo combination vehicle before coming to rest in the left westbound lane. As the motorcoach continued traveling forward it also struck the rear of the semitrailer attached to the 2014 Volvo combination vehicle.

​Following the impact between the 2019 Freightliner combination vehicle and the Nissan, a postcrash fire ensued that consumed the combination vehicle, the Nissan, and the rear of the motorcoach.

An Ohio State Highway Patrol investigation report released in late November found that the driver of the 2019 Freightliner was “following too closely” and failed to slow prior to striking another vehicle and then hitting the charter bus.

The crash remains under investigation.

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