NTSB Chairperson Jennifer Homendy traveled to Columbus alongside nine investigators and two personnel on the transportation disaster assistance team. Her team has been trying to collect the full picture of what happened on I-70.
“What we’re doing on scene is collecting the perishable evidence,” Homendy previously said. “We’re looking for cameras that may have been in motor vehicles or the motor coach, we will want to determine what the sequence of the events was.”
In a 4 p.m. briefing, she laid out the order of vehicles involved in the crash starting from farthest westbound.
“There were five vehicles that were involved,” Homendy said. “We had a commercial motor vehicle, then there was the red SUV, then there was the motorcoach, there was another SUV — that group was traveling with the motorcoach — and then there was the other commercial motor vehicle that had the most damage.”
Homendy and the Ohio State Highway Patrol previously said the bus — filled with high school students — and an SUV containing chaperones had slowed on I-70 in response to a separate accident that involved one other commercial vehicle when the semi came up from behind. Photos sent to NBC4 showed the semi had rammed into the back of that the bus, and that the bus had severe damage on its front end, too.
The NTSB chair shared more information on that initial collision, and what they planned to investigate in its relation to the second crash as well.
“That crash, we understand occurred around 7:50 a.m., and then this one occurred about an hour later,” said Jennifer Homendy, NTSB chair. “So we’ll look at how traffic was queued, we’ll look at measures for directing traffic … it’s part of our standard process and will be completed throughout the investigation.”
After making an appearance Wednesday at the Ohio State Highway Patrol training academy, Gov. Mike DeWine told reporters that the highway patrol was investigating alongside the NTSB.
“Their focus is on everything, but I’m sure that they have particular expertise in the area of busses, interstate busses, and all of the things that are connected with that,” DeWine said. “What I look at is two dual investigations going on at the same time, complementary to each other.”
Extending his sympathies to the families of the victims, DeWine also referenced how a deadly crash took one of his family members in 1993.
“I can tell the parents that I have been where they’ve been, been where they are at,” DeWine said, holding back tears.
Three teenagers on the bus and three adults in an SUV caravanning with the bus died as a result of the crash. At least 20 others, including many band students from Tuscarawas Valley Middle-High School onboard the bus, were treated at seven area hospitals. The bus was heading to the Ohio School Boards Association conference in Columbus, where the students were scheduled to perform.
Pronounced dead at the scene from the bus were John W. Mosley, 18, of Mineral City; Jeffery D. Worrell, 18, of Bolivar, and Katelyn N. Owens, 15, of Mineral City. The three people pronounced dead at the scene from an SUV were Dave Kennat, 56, of Navarre; Kristy Gaynor, 39, of Zoar, and Shannon Wigfield, 45, of Bolivar. Kennat was a teacher and Gaynor and Wigfield were parent/chaperones, the school district said.
Live: Traffic at I-70 and State Route 310
Interstate 70 reopened on Wednesday, one day after it was closed for hours because of the crash.
The westbound lanes of I-70 near its exit with State Route 310 at Etna underwent emergency repaving in response to the fiery crash, reopening around midnight. All lanes had closed at about 9 a.m. Tuesday shortly after the accident, with the eastbound lanes reopening about 4:30 p.m.