School Bus, Semi-Truck Collide in Illinois

School Bus, Semi-Truck Collide in Illinois

( – Situated in the western part of central Illinois sits Schuyler County, a small community established in 1825. It was named after Major General Philip Schuyler, who fought in multiple wars before becoming a Federalist Party lawmaker in the New York Senate. According to the 2020 census, slightly over 6,900 people live in the area, putting it just barely in the midsized city category. Recently, the residents of Schuyler suffered a horrific tragedy.

On March 12, the Associated Press reported that a Schuyler-Industry School bus was heading eastbound just before lunchtime on Route 24 in Illinois when it crossed the center line for an “unknown reason.” Illinois State Police said the school bus moved into the pathway of a sand-carrying semi-truck heading west. The two vehicles collided at a presumably high speed. The bus and the truck both caught fire after the accident, and five people died — the two drivers and three children.

The victims were identified as 57-year-old Angela Spiker, 72-year-old David Coufal, 5-year-old Maria Miller, 3-year-old Andrew Miller, and 3-year-old Noah Driscoll. According to AP News, Schuyler County Sheriff Bill Redshaw said the loss was “devastating” for the community, and he didn’t really have any “words at this time” that could ease the pain. The county closed local schools in the wake of the tragedy.

While the whole of Schuyler County might house up to 7,000 residents, the area is divided into 13 different townships. According to the New York Post, the community hit with this tragedy consists of less than half of the total residents — about 3,000. The small community is reportedly taking the loss especially hard. There have been no formal statements from the victims’ families or the community.

State police and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the accident, and the coroner is reportedly conducting autopsies on the deceased. Currently, it’s unclear whether the collision itself or the fire caused the victims’ deaths.

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