Indiana State Police Say A Sweatshirt Led To Fatal Truck/Bus Crash Along U.S. 31
Marshall County, Indiana – The Indiana State Police (ISP) has released its initial findings detailing what led to an accident involving a school bus and a flatbed truck along US 31 on December 5 of last year.
ISP’s report says the driver of the flatbed truck, 26-year-old Tylor Perry, removed his sweatshirt shortly before being unable to avoid a rear collision with the Winamac Community Middle School bus. The crash happened in the northbound lanes of US 31 in Marshall County around 9 a.m. at a railroad crossing near Argos.
The report outlines that the bus was stopped at the crossing and was beginning to accelerate when the flatbed truck, operated by Perry, slammed into the back. Perry reportedly slammed on his brakes and attempted to swerve to the left to avoid the bus after removing his sweatshirt and seeing the bus was stopped at the crossing, according to the police report.
Three witnesses said Perry did not apply his brakes until right before the collision. The report lists “distraction” as the primary cause of the crash.
ISP also reports that all of the toxicology reports on both the truck driver and bus driver, 54-year-old Cheryl Warner, have come back negative. However, one additional test conducted by the Indiana Department of Toxicology is still outstanding for both drivers.
8th Grader Owen Abbott Dies In Crash
14-year-old Owen Abbott, an 8th grade student at Winamac Middle School was on the bus that day and died at the scene from what the coroner described as “multiple-blunt force trauma.” Another student, 14-year-old Zane Bell was also injured in the crash, but did not suffer life-threatening injuries.
22 students in all were treated at local hospitals for non-life-threatening injuries. A total of 38 students were onboard at the time of the crash. Perry was not injured in the crash.
Charges are expected to be filed in the matter, but ISP confirmed the investigation will be handed over to the Marshall County Prosecutor’s Office after it is complete.