Investigation Into Fatal Indiana Truck/School Bus Crash Uncovers New Details, 13-Year-Old Victim Identified
Winamac, Indiana – Tragedy found the small community of of Winamac, Indiana, on Wednesday when a flatbed truck rear-ended a Winamac Middle School bus killing a student and injuring another. Now, we are learning more details surrounding the accident.
A total of 38 students were on-board the bus on their way to see a production of “Elf The Musical” when bus driver, 54-year-old Cheryl Warner, stopped along U.S. 31 at a railroad crossing near Argos. As she began to accelerate, a flatbed truck driven by 26-year-old Tylor Perry was unable to stop and slammed into the left rear of the bus. A 13-year-old boy was pronounced dead on the scene.
Marshall County Coroner John Grolich has now identified that young boy as Winamac Middle Schooler Owen Abbott. Grolich indicated Abbott passed away from injuries 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 Community Mourns
On Thursday, a day after the crash, the community of approximately 2,500 people were just beginning to mourn the passing of Abbott and wondering how this could have happened. Abbott was described by one of his former teachers as “one of the kindest kids” and “always smiling.”
Tanner Griffin, pastor of Winamac Nazarene Church, expressed that it is going to take some time for the community of Winamac to heal, ABC57 reported.
“This is going to have rippling effects throughout the community,” Griffin said, according to ABC57. “It’s not just a few families that are going to be working through this, it’s going to be a whole community that’s going to need support and encouragement.”
The Crash Investigation
As for the investigation into the crash, officials say they are still working through the details. More than 30 crash scene investigators were reportedly recreating the events and the moments that led up to the fatal crash.
Indiana State Police Sgt. Ted Bohner said that weather was not believed to be a contributing factor, but authorities have not yet made a determination whether to file charges against the truck driver. Investigators are awaiting toxicology results from both the bus and truck drivers before making any final determinations.
Transportation Nation Network will continue to follow the story.
Images courtesy of WSBT.