Update: Police identify man killed in last week’s Owen County bus crash


Update: The man killed in this crash was identified in a news release Sunday as Ronald E. Denton Jr., 61, of Indianapolis, Ind. by the Owen County Coroner’s Office. Denton, the release said, was driving the 2003 Toyota involved in the fatal crash. His family has been notified.

OWEN COUNTY, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — A Spencer-Owen County school bus crash Thursday afternoon on SR 67 killed one person, Indiana State Police report.

Around 4:00 p.m. state troopers were called to the scene just north of Gosport. A preliminary investigation indicated that a yellow 2015 International bus being driven by Taresa L. Tharpe, 56 of Gosport, IN was traveling northbound on SR 67 approaching Culross Road when the bus driver had to make evasive maneuvers to avoid a southbound passenger car that was driving erratically and had entered the northbound lane of travel.

Tharpe had attempted to steer the bus onto the shoulder when it was then struck head-on by the car whose driver died due to injuries.

At the time of the crash, the bus was occupied by 12 students, and the driver, Tharpe. Each occupant of the bus was evaluated by emergency responders and of the bus occupants, 9 juveniles were transported to area hospitals with non-life-threatening injuries. All other passengers were transported to Gosport Elementary where they were assisted by the S-OCS Corporation.

A Toxicology test was provided by Tharpe and results are pending, which is required by law for vehicle operators involved in serious injury or fatal crashes. The Indiana State Police in conjunction with the Owen County Coroner will release the identity of the deceased driver pending identification and notification of next of kin. An autopsy of the unidentified driver is scheduled for tomorrow.

State Road 67 remained closed until approximately 8:00 p.m. between Smith Road and Culross Road for the crash investigation and removal of the vehicles.

The Indiana State Police were assisted by the Owen County Sheriff Department, Wayne Township Volunteer Fire Department, Owen County EMS, Owen County Coroner, and the Spencer Owen Community School Corporation.

S-OSC Superintendent Andy Cline commends the bus driver for their actions immediately following the accident during a time of crisis.

Counselors will be available at the middle and high school tomorrow for any student that needs assistance.

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