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Investigation of fatal crash reveals Jeep hit bus

A Jeep Wrangler involved an accident with Jeep suv thcaused school bus roll over Rte 173 Kilbourne Road Wadsworth. |

A Jeep Wrangler involved in an accident with a Jeep suv that caused a school bus roll over on Rte 173 and Kilbourne Road in Wadsworth. | Thomas Delany Jr.~ Sun-Times Media

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Updated: June 10, 2013 1:31PM

Although there is no way to assign blame in the Jeep vs. bus crash in unincorporated Newport Township, it was the Jeep that T-boned the school bus full of 35 children at the Route 173/Kilbourne Road intersection April 5, Lake County Sheriff spokeswoman Sgt. Sara Balmes said Tuesday, May 8.

Officials first reported that the Jeep Wrangler was struck by the bus. The school bus was traveling westbound on Route 173 to Newport School and Philip Smith, 62, of Beach Park was southbound on Kilbourne Road.

Smith’s Jeep struck the school bus toward its rear wheel well, Balmes said. Smith did not survive the crash. Some of the children were treated for injuries, but all children survived the rollover accident.

Eyewitness accounts conflicted, making it impossible for investigators to determine who had the right of way at the stoplight intersection. The crash investigation was completed and nobody was charged.

The bus driver is still an employee of Durham School Services, the company the school district contracts to provide transportation.

“We are working with her (the driver) to determine the most appropriate time for her to return to her duties,” Durham School Services spokeswoman Carina Noble said.

Durham has been the district’s transportation service for seven years, Superintendent Robert DiVirgilio said, adding the district is not reconsidering its contract.

“They have given us excellent services. Accidents happen ... they have done a great job for us,” DiVirgilio said.

The bus in the crash was recently released back to Durham, Noble said. She said the company has not yet decided what they will do with the bus.

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