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Ohio's First Onboard Fatality in 40 Years Results in Seat Belt Bill PDF Print E-mail
Written by Ryan Gray   
Thursday, 03 June 2010 12:29

[Updated] ZANESVILLE, Ohio — With the investigation just beginning into what was being described as a single-vehicle crash of a school bus that resulted in the death of a 6-year-old boy and injuries to six other students, the Ohio House of Representatives responded by introducing legislation that would require three-point, lap/shoulder restraints on all school buses by 2014.

HB 448, introduced hours after the crash, would specifically require school districts to “purchase, lease or rent” school buses with the passenger restraint systems installed at each student seating position. School buses in service before 2014 would not require retrofits unless those buses were transferred to another school bus operator. It would also require disciplinary policies for students who fail to wear or properly adjust their three-point restraints, but the bill would also provide immunity to school districts from civil or criminal liability in the case of injury, death or property damage.

Meanwhile, the death of 6-year-old Kasey King was being referred to as the state's first on-board school bus fatality in at least 40 years. Pete Japikse, the associate director of ODE's pupil transportation office, said the last fatality occurred sometime in the 1960s, but his department has having trouble obtaining the documentation.

"But, for sure, this is the first since 1970," he added.

Japikse was traveling with a staff lieutenant from the Ohio Department of Public Safety to visit the crash site on state Route 60 in Muskingum County and to meet with investigators. He said the school bus left the roadway at approximately 8:15 a.m. on June 2 and struck and broke a utility role before rolling over onto its roof and landing in a ditch. Japikse added that there was an initial report that an oncoming car crossed the median before the crash, but that information was unconfirmed.

Six other students were also injured and were transferred to local hospitals with non-life-threatening injuries.

The school bus driver, Carol Oler, had been upgraded to serious condition from critical condition. A news report stated that Oler, 47, a driver for Tri-Valley Local Schools, had been involved in two other crashes over the past two years. But it was not immediately known if either involved her school bus.

Last Updated on Friday, 04 June 2010 08:29