Four elementary special needs students were killed Friday afternoon when a dump truck clipped a school bus, causing it to collide with another dump truck near a rural intersection in northern Indiana.Emergency responders were taken aback by the sheer horror of the crash scene. Cass County Coroner Gene Powlen said, "the victims are everywhere," shortly after he arrived.
The collision happened at about 3 p.m. west of the intersection of U.S. 24 and U.S. 35 near Logansport, about 70 miles north of Indianapolis.The victims were identified as Trevor Ingram, 10; Lauren Melin, 5; Tyler Geiger, 10; and Kale Seabolt, 9. All of the victims were from Monticello.The bus was from Twin Lakes School Corp. in Monticello, but all of the students went to school in Logansport.The driver of the bus, Deborah Duvall, 46, of Idaville, was the only survivor on board. She was flown to a Fort Wayne hospital in critical condition. The two dump truck drivers, Terry Dixon, 53, and Joe Magers, 44, both of Logansport, were not injured.Indiana State Police said all of the children were restrained by either a seat belt or child safety seat, but that the force of the crash was too severe."A moped also traveling eastbound was turning into his residence just east of the crash site," said Indiana State Police Sgt. Tony Slocum. "The dump truck immediately behind him slammed on his brakes."The truck was unable to stop and swerved into the westbound lane, clipping the school bus. The bus flipped onto its side and slid into oncoming traffic, where a second truck struck the roof, causing the bus to slide into a ditch on the south side of the road.Skycam 6 video from the crash scene showed that the bus was nearly unrecognizable because its roof had been crushed.
Community Mourns Bus Tragedy
The four victims were from Monticello but went to school at Logansport at Landis and Fairview elementary schools. Word of the tragedy spread quickly and touched the entire community, 6News' Tanya Spencer reported."Two of them went to my son's school," said Tammy Krpan. "I knew who they were just because I'd been at the school quite often. My best friend works in the special needs class."For many first responders, some of them also parents, working the crash site was emotional."I couldn't see anything at first. I just said, 'Its bad. Get me a lot of help out here,'" said Cass County sheriff's Sgt. Tom Wallace, one of the first on the scene. "In the 30 years I've been on the department, this ranks right up there as one of the worst if not the worst.""We've been fighting our emotions since this began," said Steve Temple, of the Georgetown Fire Department. "We've got a stress debriefing at 9 a.m. Monday, so we're probably all going to go to that.""We have children, and it just tugs at your heart," Slocum said. "Any time a young person is hurt, and especially when they're doing such an innocent thing as traveling back and forth to school."The schools planned to have grief counselors available on Monday.