Statement as issued Friday by Ohio State Highway Patrol’s Van Wert Post:
HAVILAND – The Ohio State Highway Patrol’s Van Wert Post is investigating an injury crash involving a Wayne Trace Elementary School Bus that occurred at 9:40 AM on US127 north of County Road 60 in Latty Township, Paulding County.
A 2002 Saturn, driven by Jacob Dingus, age 17, of Paulding was southbound on US 127. A 2004 Bluebird School Bus, driven by Vicky Etzler, age 45, of Payne was northbound coming from Wayne Trace High School on US 127.
Mr. Dingus was distracted in the vehicle and drifted left of center. Mrs. Etzler took evasive action and drove off the right side of the roadway in an attempt to avoid the Saturn. Mr. Dingus struck the School Bus in the left side. The school bus became disabled across both lanes of US 127 and Mr. Dingus continued off the left side of the roadway coming to rest in a plowed field. The Saturn sustained severe disabling damage and the school bus sustained moderate damage to the left side.
Mr. Dingus was subsequently transported to Van Wert County Hospital by EMS Squad and was treated and released. Side impact and front airbags were deployed in his vehicle during the crash. Mrs. Etzler and two students on the School Bus were treated at the scene by Volunteer Squad personnel.
The use of seat belts along with the air bag deployment lessened the injuries sustained in this crash. The crash is still under investigation and additional information will be made available at a later date.
US 127 was temporarily closed during the investigation and scene clean up. The Ohio State Highway Patrol was assisted on scene by the Paulding County Sheriff’s Office, Scott Volunteer Fire and EMS, Gideon’s Towing and Recovery, and the Ohio Department of Transportation.