District helps Ohio students following fatal bus accident in Colleton Co.

Local students help in aftermath of fatal bus crash
Source: Colleton County Fire Rescue
Source: Colleton County Fire Rescue

COLLETON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - The Colleton County School District sprang into action early Sunday morning after students from a Ohio high school were involved in a deadly accident when their bus crashed on I-95 early Sunday morning.

The district responded to the accident scene which took the life of 63-year-old Michael Esber, of Millersburg, Ohio, who died after being found trapped inside the bus in critical condition.

According to Colleton school district officials, Superintendent Leila Williams spearheaded the relief to assist the 53 passengers which included more than 40 teenagers.  School officials say three athletic buses responded to the scene and picked up students and transported them to Colleton Regional Medical Center.

"Music is a universal language, but I think band is really stronger than that," Colleton County Bands Director Tom Finigan said.  "We felt like it would be good to have some fellowship with them, talk about band, get their mind off the accident."

The Colleton County High School band came to comfort them, feed them, and laugh with them after they were taken to the hospital.

"They didn't want to ride another bus -- they didn't want to do anything," Colleton County High School band member Chakieria Allen said.  "They were just all in tears."

The accident happened around 4:30 a.m. when the students' bus was traveling north on I-95, ran off the road and crashed into some trees.

The South Carolina Highway Patrol says the driver, who later succumbed to his injuries, had to be airlifted to Colleton County Medical Center. Rescue officials also say two other adults were taken to the hospital, one in serious condition and the other in stable condition. The other passengers on the bus sustained minor injuries.

According to 10 TV in Ohio, the bus was carrying band members from Southeastern High School back home after performing at Disney World in Orlando, Florida.

The SC Highway Patrol is investigating this accident.

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