The National Transportation Safety Board has sent a crew of 15 people to Missouri to investigate the fatal crash Thursday that involved two full school buses, a pickup truck and a truck tractor, killing a high school band member and the son of a candidate running for the state Assembly.
During a brief press conference in Missouri, NTSB vice-chairman Christpher Hart said his agency was sending so many investigators to probe the crash on I-44 near Gray Summit because the pileup issues “that were of long-standing interest to the NTSB,” The St. Louis Post-Dispath reported.
Those issues include school bus safety, work-zone safety and the idea of installing crash-sensing devices on school buses and other vehicles.
Hart didn’t expect to have a full report on the crash any sooner than 14 months.
The horrific accident involved two school buses, one carrying girls and one carrying boys, that were on their way to Six Flags in St. Louis from their high school in St. James, Mo. The students were members of the Red Regiment Band.
The ensuing crash, at about 10:15 a.m., made national headlines, with gruesome photos of one school bus sitting on top of the large truck, a pickup crushed in between them, and the second bus in the back of the first one.
Dozens of victims were sent to the hospital, and two perished. They were the driver of the pickup truck, Daniel Schatz, 19, whose father, David Schatz, is a GOP candidate for the Missouri Assembly, for the 111th District, Frankin County. The youger Schatz had been a reserve quarteback for the University of Missouri-Columbia.
The other victim was Jessica Brinker, 15,who was a member of the John F. Hodge High School band. She was sitting in the last row of the first bus.
The Post-Dispatch reported that Climate Express, which owned the truck, said that its driver had slowed down because of traffic caused by construction work on the interstate when he was hit from the rear by the pickup. The picup, in turn, was hit by the first bus, which was then hit by the second bus.
Attorney Gordon Johnson
Past Chair Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group, American Association of Justice
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