Driver facing 2 counts

Published 9:56 am Thursday, January 28, 2016

18-year-old indicted in recent school bus accident

The second driver allegedly involved in a school bus crash on State Route 243 that sent 10 to the hospital earlier this month faces two counts after being indicted by a Lawrence County grand jury this week.

Chance A. Blankenship, 18, of 50 County Road 5, Kitts Hill, faces one count of vehicular assault, a fourth-degree felony, and one count of operation in a willful or wanton disregard of the safety of persons or property, a minor misdemeanor.

On Jan. 5, a South Point school bus was traveling westbound on State Route 243 in Getaway near Collins Career Center when a black Ford Fusion, allegedly the car Blankenship was driving, passed the school bus in a no passing zone. The car released a heavy cloud of smoke, which fogged the roadway, causing the school bus to overturn into the ditch on the side of the road.

Approximately 30 students were on the bus at the time of the crash and nine as well as the bus driver were transported to Cabell Huntington Hospital. Although there were no life-threatening injuries, Lawrence County Prosecuting Attorney Brigham Anderson said some of the injuries were serious including a broken leg, broken nose and other head injuries.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol obtained a statement from Blankenship allegedly confirming that he was driving the vehicle, but that he did not know he caused the bus to crash at the time.

Blankenship will be arraigned Feb. 10.