TUSCARAWAS VALLEY, Ohio (WTRF) – “In a stadium that’s usually full of excitement and loud noises, tonight is silent. It’s a dark day in our district.”

Six lit candles – Representing the six sons, daughters, parents, friends, and family members – taken all too soon in a fatal crash Tuesday morning. 

What began as one of the most exciting days for Tusky Valley High School as their band was to perform for the Ohio School Boards Association Conference in Columbus, would turn into one of the darkest days the community has seen. 

“It feels like a punch to the gut. Everything has changed.”

Mark Murphy – Director of Operations, Tuscarawas Valley Local Schools

A fiery, fatal crash between a semi and the school’s charter bus claimed the lives of six and injured 20 other confirmed students of the 57 on board. 

Thousands from the Tusky Valley community gathered at the high school to honor, remember, and support their friends, classmates, and loved ones who were affected in the morning’s events. 

“As we were driving back from Columbus, I kept thinking and reflecting that we’ve got parents that aren’t tucking their children in tonight. We have students that aren’t going home to their bedrooms and texting their friends about their day.”

Mark Murphy – Director of Operations, Tuscarawas Valley Local Schools

Three of the six lives taken were students.

One teacher and two parent chaperones in a car following the bus make up the other three.

The crowd filled with pastors and marked counselors came together in support, and students walked hand in hand down the field that once was home to 6 more than it is now. 

Tusky Valley reached out to the ADAMHS Board to provide support for the students, families, faculty, and staff in the days and weeks to come. 

“We’re not going to talk about healing today because we are going to honor those that we lost and know that there is time for healing in the future.”

Natalie Bollon – Executive Director, ADAMHS Board

School will resume at Tuscarawas Valley, but not the same as the day before.  

They urge anyone needing help to contact the school or crisis helpline at 330-343-6631.