Driver learns sentence for causing deadly school bus crash in Clark County

CLARK COUNTY — A man has learned his prison sentence after being found guilty of causing a deadly school crash.

Hermanio Joseph, 36, was sentenced to nine to 13.5 years in prison. Upon release, he will be on probation for two to five years.

Joseph was also given jail time credit for the nine months he’s served since the crash.

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News Center 7 was in court as several people, including Aiden Clark’s parents and siblings, made emotional victim impact statements.

As shown on News Center 7 at 6:00, Aiden Clark’s father, Nathan Clark, recalled the crash that happened on the first day of school in August 2023.

“Mr. Joseph recklessly smashed into a Northwestern school bus, endangering the lives of 52 innocent children and one amazing bus driver,” Aiden’s father said.

He described “frantically” trying to reach Aiden after the crash, but as time went on and parents were reunited with their children, their hope turned to panic.

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“Then, our most horrible thoughts became reality. Our handsome, smart, hilarious, athletic, competitive, and compassionate 11-year-old son was dead,” he said.

Aiden’s older brother, Preston Clark, also addressed Joseph and the court, saying that he’s not the same person he was before the crash.

“I had to carry my little brother in a casket. Life isn’t supposed to be like that,” Preston said.

Aiden’s sister, Madelynn Clark, talked about how often she now thinks of the future without her little brother. The plans they made will never be fulfilled.

“Mr. Joseph shattered our lives by stealing our son away from us,” Nathan said in court.

Joseph addressed the Clark family through his translator in court.

“It wasn’t my intention to be in that position. I would like to say to the family of the victim that I’m sorry,” Joseph said.

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After that, Aiden’s father said how much their family hates the lasting impacts of Aiden’s death.

“We hate all of that because of you, Mr. Joseph. We hate that you took our life. But, we don’t know you. So, Mr. Joseph, we can’t hate you,” Nathan said.

News Center 7 was in court earlier this month when Joseph was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and vehicular homicide.

Joseph was on trial after he crashed a van into a Northwestern Local Schools bus on the first day of school last August.

Aiden was on the bus and died in the crash. Dozens of other students were hurt in the crash.

Joseph testified that he tried to avoid the crash, but prosecutors pointed out data from the Ohio State Highway Patrol investigation showed he was speeding and did not brake.

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After he crossed the center line, the data showed he made no attempts to steer his van back to the right and away from oncoming traffic.

Joseph did not have an Ohio driver’s license, nor one from any other U.S. state at the time of the crash, but chose to drive anyway.

“All of this could have been avoided if you would have just done the right thing,” Madelynn said.

Also in court on Tuesday, Judge Douglas Rastatter called the case one of the most painful, heart-wrenching, sad, and devastating cases he’s been a part of.

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