Bellefontaine Examiner

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UPDATE: Bus crashes on icy road (911 Audio included)

27 treated for mostly minor injuries

An Indian Lake school bus carrying 41 elementary school children overturned Monday afternoon on an icy roadway in northwest Logan County, sending all but two of the occupants to the hospital, some for the treatment of injuries.

Click here to listen to 911 call

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Troopers of the Marysville Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol continue to investigate a bus crash that occurred on County Road 88 near Township Road 92, north of Lakeview, that sent 40 children and the driver to Mary Rutan Hospital for minor injuries late Monday afternoon. (EXAMINER PHOTOS | RICK PITTS)

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Troopers of the Marysville Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol report bus driver Terrassa Cline, 35, of Jackson Center, was operating Bus 18 southbound on Township Road 88 just south of Township Road 92 about 4 p.m.

She reportedly lost control on the snow- and ice-covered road, and traveled off the right side of the roadway and the bus overturned.

A second Indian Lake school bus was used to transport 39 students and Ms. Cline to Mary Rutan Hospital for triage and treatment as needed.

Indian Lake Schools Superintendent Pat O’Donnell said several elementary staff members personally called all parents of students on the bus to notify them of the crash.

At MRH, the staff went to its second highest alert level for a disaster, said Laura Miller, vice president of marketing and communications.

The alert level is based on the number of patients coming, she said, not the severity of injuries.

Of those taken to MRH, the hospital registered 27 patients for treatment. Injuries ranged from a broken clavicle to bruising, abrasions and minor burns.

Bellefontaine and Indian Lake EMS personnel were on hand at the hospital to assist in the triage of the students.

Alerted of the crash, the hospital followed national hospital incident command system protocols. Within minutes, seven physicians were on staff in the emergency room along with multiple shifts of nursing staff.

“Normally, we would have one or two physicians in the ER for that time of the day,” Ms. Miller said.

Staff members readied and used the ER’s 20 rooms along with several rooms in the outpatient area to handle triage, treatment and patient tracking.

Mr. O’Donnell and one of the elementary school principals were at the hospital when the bus arrived with the students.

They had critical information and paperwork concerning the students which greatly helped the hospital handle the influx of patients, Ms. Miller said.

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Emergency personnel escort an Indian Lake Elementary School student from an alternative bus into the emergency room at Mary Rutan Hospital after the original bus they left school on rolled over Monday afternoon. (EXAMINER PHOTO | REUBEN MEES)

As parents arrived at MRH, they were directed as quickly as possible to their children.

The last patient was discharged around 9 p.m., Ms. Miller said.

It has been about 20 years since the last school bus crash that generated a mass number of injuries, she said.

MRH does practice its disaster preparedness at least twice a year, Ms. Miller said, and one of the recent scenarios involved a school bus crash with multiple injuries.

The crash remains under investigation and alcohol is not suspected to be a factor.

Ms. Cline was cited for failure to control.

Mr. O’Donnell said Ms. Cline, a three-year employee with the district, will be on paid leave as the investigation into the crash continues.

Also assisting at the scene were personnel with Lakeview Fire, Indian Lake EMS and the patrol’s Commercial Enforcement Carrier Section, which includes a school bus inspector.

Officers from the Russells Point Police Department, Bellefontaine Police Department and Washington Township Police Department assisted with the investigation.

On Jan. 25, Ms. Cline also reportedly was involved in a minor school bus crash handled by deputies of the Logan County Sheriff’s Office.

She reportedly was operating a southbound Indian Lake school bus in the area of Blue Jacket Path and Hiawatha Path in Chippewa. She stopped at a stop sign and turned left, and then drove off the side of the road and struck a fence, as previously reported in the Examiner.

The driver and her 26 passengers did not report any injuries. No citations were issued for that incident.

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