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1 student still hospitalized after Winton Road school bus crash

Counselors at Pleasant Hill Academy
1 student still hospitalized after bus crash
Posted at 10:56 AM, Apr 24, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-24 19:14:39-04

CINCINNATI -- Children at Pleasant Hill Academy were quieter than usual Tuesday. 

There were tears and hugs inside the College Hill school building. 

Heike Wilson, a professional counselor, noticed many were anxious and uncertain.

A bus carrying students from Pleasant Hill was involved in a chain-reaction crash Monday afternoon. More than a dozen students went to Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, 11 of them taken there in ambulances. Not all have returned to school just yet.

One student, a 12-year-old girl, remained at the hospital Tuesday. She was in critical condition.

Pleasant Hill has children in preschool through sixth grade. Wilson was one of eight counselors at the school to help students cope with their feelings.

"They leave sitting a lot taller, smiling a little bit, just more relaxed -- which is what we want to reduce anxiety," Wilson said.

Students spent part of their school day making get-well cards for classmates who'd been hurt. Principal Shauna McDowell, who rushed to the crash scene on Winton Road, was at the front door giving them hugs Tuesday morning.

"I've had some of my boys -- my macho boys -- stop me and say, 'Ms. McDowell, I need a hug.' So, you can definitely tell the spirit in the building is positive and everyone is sending positive thoughts to those students who are still at home," she said.

Charges are expected against 23-year-old Robert Jett, the driver police believe set off the chain-reaction crash. The force flung a 2-year-old out of another car onto the road. 

Police said the bus was traveling southbound on Winton when a northbound vehicle, driven by Jett, made an ill-fated attempt to pass the vehicle in front of him.

According to the Cincinnati Police Department, Jett lost control of his car and struck another, that one driven by Jordan Ervin and transporting a pair of toddlers. Ervin's vehicle spun out of control and hit the bus; bus driver Tina Turnbow attempted to control her spinning vehicle and struck a fourth car, this one driven by LeAndre Acoff.

Ervin was hospitalized in serious condition, as were his two passengers: The 2-year-old and a 1-year-old.

In all, about 40 people in five vehicles were involved in Monday's collision.

Investigators say speeding played a part.

The Cincinnati Police Department issued seven speeding tickets on all of Winton Road last year. Traffic enforcement in the city has dropped off in recent years; with speeding citations specifically, the data show nearly a 35-percent decline between 2015-2017.

RELATED: As enforcement declines, speeding still pedestrians' top safety concern

At Pleasant Hill Academy, McDowell wanted to remind her students they have the support and love of their teachers and classmates. It's also a lesson in character, she said.

"I just think about the main thing we teach and we want our students to become and that is human -- human beings that care for one another and love one another," McDowell said.