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Second Busing Accident for Tri-Valley Schools

Published: Thursday, September 30, 2010

Updated: Thursday, September 30, 2010 21:09

Last June Tri Valley schools experienced a busing accident that caused one fatality.  A second, less serious, busing accident occurred again for the district recently on Monday, Sept. 20 on Ohio 146.

With the busing accident in June, Kasey King Thomas, who was six years old, was killed. The driver of the bus, Carol Oler, recently pleaded not guilty to all charges. Tri-Valley schools superintendent, Mark Neal, commented that the case is expected to go to trial.

Tri-Valley authorities reported that Monday's, Sept. 20 accident occurred on Ohio 146 just about half a mile west of state route 586. Twelve people total were involved in the accident.  The bus was carrying nine students, an aide, and the driver. The students ranged in ages from 6-16. The Tri-Valley bus was taking its morning route to the Excel Academy in Newark. 

The Zanesville Highway patrol did not take any calls.  However, Lt. Steven Rine who is with the post, reported to Whiz TV that the 20 year old driver of the car, Donald E. Binkley III, went left of center and hit the bus head on.

According to the Zanesville Times Recorder, the students on the bus sustained minor injuries and were taken to Genesis Good Samaritan Hospital.  Binkley, however, was life lighted to Columbus' Grant Medical center and was listed in critical condition.

Bus number 20 – driven by Denise Morrison was the bus involved in the accident.

"She has driven for the district since 1986 and has a clean driving record", said Neal.

Both Neal and Rodney Ashcraft who is Tri-Valley's schools transportation supervisor agree that Morrison handled the situation well. 

"The driver did a superb job of handling the situation", commented Ashcraft. 

"She handled the situation perfectly by trying to avoid the collision without allowing the bus to roll over," said Neal.

Neal commented that all the students involved in the accident have since returned back to school.

Monday's accident occurred just four short months after the fatal one last June and similar situations caused the accidents. 

"The accidents were very similar based on the statements of both drivers. In each case the drivers went off on the right shoulder to avoid a head on collision. In the first accident, there was not enough road bed and the bus went into a deep ravine causing it to roll-over. In the more recent case…the driver did not go very far off of the road and instead struck the other vehicle head on," said Neal.

"It is terribly unfortunate to have two severe accidents in such a short time frame.  However, in both cases it appears that other vehicles were the cause of the accidents," Neal went on to say.

As to how safe school buses are when they are involved in an accident, Rex Newbanks, Director of Campus Police and Public Safety says that they are pretty safe.

"School buses are designed to be one of the safest vehicles on the highway. In Ohio they pass a rigorous inspection at least once a year," said Newbanks. 

Newbanks said that he was in favor of having safety belts in school buses – especially for the younger children.

As of now, Tri-Valley schools are not yet sure of the future condition of the bus.

"In my opinion", stated Ashcraft, "it is not salvageable."

"It looks like we all need to be a little more cautious on the highway," was Newbanks' ending comment about the safety of our highways. 


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