Crash involving school bus claims one life

OWEN CO. – A crash on State Road 65 involving a Spencer Owen Community School bus and a passenger car claimed the life of one person.

The accident was reported at 4 p.m. Thursday.

Indiana State Police troopers and Owen County Sheriff’s Department deputies responded to the crash, on State Road 67, north of Gosport.

According to Indiana State police, a yellow 2015 International school bus driven by 56-year-old Tarea Tharpe was traveling north on State Road 67 approaching Culross Road. Tharpe made evasive maneuvers to avoid a southbound passenger car that was driving erratically and had entered her lane of travel. Tharpe attempted to steer the bus onto the shoulder when it was struck head-on by the car.

The driver of the car died from their injuries.

At the time of the crash, the bus was occupied by 12 students, and Tharpe. Each occupant of the bus was evaluated by emergency first responders. Nine juveniles were transported to area hospitals with non-life-threatening injuries. All other passengers were transported to Gosport Elementary where they were assisted by the Spencer-Owen Community Schools Corporation.

A toxicology test was provided by Tharpe, which is a standard procedure in a fatal accident, and those results are pending.

The Indiana State Police in conjunction with the Owen County Coroner will release the identity of the deceased driver pending identification and notification of next of kin. An autopsy of the unidentified driver is scheduled for Friday.

State Road 67 remained closed until approximately 8:00 p.m. between Smith Road and Culross Road for the crash investigation and removal of the vehicles.

The Indiana State Police were assisted by the Owen County Sheriff Department, Wayne Township Volunteer Fire Department, Owen County EMS, Owen County Coroner, and the Spencer Owen Community School Corporation.