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Willard bus driver charged with vehicular manslaughter

Cary Ashby • Sep 18, 2019 at 11:28 AM

A Willard City Schools bus driver has been charged in connection with a June 28 fatal crash that killed a Greenwich man.

Rosalie A. Keesy, 47, of 611 Park St., Willard, was charged with vehicular manslaughter, a second-degree misdemeanor. If convicted, she faces up to 90 days in the Huron County Jail and a maximum fine of $750.

“We did it by summons. That means there was no (bond). The summons probably would have gone by mail,” Norwalk Law Director Stuart O’Hara said Tuesday.

The victim was Clell L. “C.L.” Jones, 75, of 3268 Townsend Road, Greenwich, who was pronounced dead at the scene. His body was transported to Eastman Funeral Home in Greenwich.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to all those who have been affected by this accident,” Superintendent Jeff Ritz said Tuesday.

The crash happened about 5:46 p.m. June 28 on Ohio 162 west of Old State Road in Fairfield Township.

Keesy is accused of being distracted by “other activity with an electronic device,” according to the crash report by the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

“As far as I can tell, she looked down to turn down the radio,” O’Hara said.

Ritz said he has no prior knowledge of Keesy being involved in any previous crashes during the 19 years she has been a bus driver for Willard. She has been placed on paid administrative leave.

“She has been taken off the operation of any board-owned vehicle,” Ritz said.

On June 28, Jones was driving a 2004 Dodge Dakota west on Ohio 162 when he stopped the pickup truck in his lane and began to exit it for an undisclosed reason. The westbound 2017 Blue Bird school bus driven by Keesy then hit the truck in the rear and Jones as he was exiting, troopers said.

The collision pushed the pickup off the north side of Ohio 162, while the bus went off the south side.

Keesy, who suffered minor cuts and abrasions, was treated at the scene by Willard EMS and later released, troopers said.

Ohio 162, between North Fairfield and New State roads, remained closed for several hours as crews investigated and cleared debris. The road was reopened by 10 p.m., more than four hours after the crash.

That afternoon, Keesy was transporting students who attended a school for migrant workers’ families. Willard conducts the school for the entire area, servicing about 50 students, most of them on the elementary level. The classes are held at Willard Elementary School.

“The bus dropped off its last student in the South Central school district and was on its way home when I received the call,” Ritz said shortly after the crash.

O’Hara was asked if drugs and alcohol were factors in the crash.

“No. If it had been, it would have been a felony,” said the law director, referring to aggravated vehicular homicide.

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