‘It was a disaster;’ Police chief recalls racing to scene of deadly school bus crash

CLARK COUNTY — Today, a Clark County jury heard opening statements, as well as some testimony in the trial of a man accused of causing a deadly school bus crash last year.

Hermanio Joseph, 36, is facing charges of involuntary manslaughter and vehicular homicide for the crash involving a Northwestern Local Schools bus on the district’s first day of school on Aug. 22. The crash killed an 11-year-old student, Aiden Clark, and injured over two dozen others.

>> PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Trial begins today for man accused of causing deadly Clark County school bus crash

During the proceedings on Tuesday, prosecutors revealed on-board video from the deadly crash. It showed the van prosecutors said Joseph was driving going left of center around a curve and slamming into the bus.

As we showed you on News Center 7 at 5:00, another angle showed the driver trying to avoid the collision.

Also for the first time, body camera video from some of the first responders was shown.

“Get me some cars here. I got a school bus that flipped over,” German Township Police Chief Mike Stitzel said in one part of the body camera video.

Stitzel took the stand to testify on Tuesday about how he sped to the scene after hearing the crash from a nearby traffic stop he was making.

“It was a disaster. People were running down to the back of the bus,” he told the court. “You could hear the kids screaming. I just jumped out and ran to the back of the best where we were trying to get the kids off.”

Joseph could be seen covering his eyes and looking down, even crying at times, during Tuesday’s testimony.

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Prosecutors told the jury about Joseph not having a valid driver’s license.

“The crash could have easily been avoided. But due to the defendant’s negligence, Aiden Clark was killed as a result,” Clark County Assistant Prosecutor Kevin Miller said.

Joseph’s defense team said he had a driver’s license from Mexico but had not gotten an Ohio driver’s license.

“What the defendant indicated is that the sun was in his eyes, which caused him to go left of center,” Joseph’s defense attorney told the court.

Proceedings for Joseph’s trial wrapped up around 4:45 p.m. on Tuesday. They’re expected to pick back up on Wednesday morning.

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