Trial scheduled this week for driver in fatal Clark County school bus crash

SPRINGFIELD, Ohio (WCMH) – A man accused of causing a fatal school bus crash in Clark County on the first day of school last year is set to go on trial this week.

Hermanio Joseph, 36, is facing a first-degree felony involuntary manslaughter charge and a fourth-degree felony vehicular homicide charge in connection with the Aug. 22, 2023 crash.

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According to police, Joseph was driving east on State Route 41 in Lawrenceville while a Northwestern Local Schools bus was driving in the opposite direction. Police said Joseph crossed the center lane, causing the bus driver to swerve. The vehicles still made contact, with the bus going off the road and rolling onto its side.

Aiden Clark, an 11-year-old Northwestern student, was killed in the crash. Twenty-six other students were injured; there were 52 students on the bus that day.

Joseph’s attorney filed a motion in January to have the case dismissed because prosecutors allege that Joseph didn’t have a valid U.S. driver’s license; the attorney argued that Joseph did have a valid Mexican driver’s license at the time of the crash. A judge ruled against the motion in early February.

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If guilty, Joseph faces up to 11 years in prison for the involuntary manslaughter charge and up to a year in prison for the vehicular homicide charge.

The crash prompted the creation of the Ohio School Safety Working Group, formed to issue recommendations to make school buses safer. Among the recommendations made in January were seat belts on the buses, stronger bus frames, and collision avoidance systems.

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