A Sardinia woman was killed and a handful of Bright Local students received reportedly minor injuries when a vehicle rear-ended a school bus Monday morning on SR 321.
According to the Wilmington Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol, Helen M. Dean, 54, of Sardinia, was traveling southeast on SR 321 at around 7 a.m. in a 1996 Honda Passport. At the same time a 2015 Blue Bird school bus driven by Linda S. Bellamy, 61, of Winchester, was also heading southeast on SR 321 and was preparing to pick up students when it was struck in the back end by Dean’s vehicle.
Dean was pronounced dead at the scene by as a result of the crash by the Highland County Coroner’s Office. She was not restrained at the time of the accident, the state patrol said.
Dean was employed at the Old Y Restaurant, according to Bright Local Superintendent Ted Downing.
Five students from Whiteoak High School were transported to local hospitals by emergency personnnel with non-life threatening injuries, the state patrol.
Bellamy was not injured and was wearing her seatbelt at the time of the crash, according to the state patrol.
Downing said there 12 students on the bus at the time of the crash, all in middle school or high school. He said a few students were transported to the hospital by EMS and a couple others were transported by private vehicle. He said most of the injuries to the students were just bumps and bruises.
Downing said there were a few students on the scene that had been in a private vehicle following Dean’s vehicle. He said a school counselor had talked to them. He also said counselors would be available to talk if needed by other students.
The school bus likely was drivable, Downing said, but he added that anytime there’s a serious accident involving a school bus it is towed from the scene and extensively examined before it’s put back in the normal route rotation.
“It’s just a tragic accident. We certainly feel sorry for the lady and her family, but at the same time we’re glad none of students were seriously injured,” Downing said.
State troopers were assisted at the scene by Sardinia, Mt. Orab and Paint Creek Joint EMS/Fire District personnel, the Highland County Sheriff’s Office, Ohio State Highway Patrol Traffic Crash Reconstruction Unit, and the Ohio Department of Transportation.
The Ohio Department of Transportation said SR 321 was closed just east of Bell’s Run Road and west of Mowrystown while the accident was being investigated.
The crash still remains under investigation by the state patrol.
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522 or on Twitter @13gillilandj.