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With funerals set, Tusky Valley Schools taking time to heal after deadly Licking County crash

Students walk on the football field during a community prayer vigil, Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2023, at the Tuscarawas Valley Schools football stadium in Zoarville, Ohio.
Andrew Dolph
/
Associated Press
Students walk on the football field during a community prayer vigil, Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2023, at the Tuscarawas Valley Schools football stadium in Zoarville, Ohio.

Funeral services will begin Saturday for the six people, including three students, from Tuscarawas Valley Local Schools who died in a five-vehicle crash Tuesday on I-70 in Licking County.

District superintendent Derek Varansky addressed the community in an online video on social media on Thursday.

"Six wonderful people who meant so much to our district, left for what should have been an experience of a lifetime. And they never returned. Parents have a void where their child should be and families are forever changed. A classroom remains without a teacher and student desks will remain empty,” he said.

Three students, seniors John W. Mosely, 18, of Mineral City and Jeffery D. Worrell, 18, of Bolivar, and sophomore Katelyn N. Owens, 15, of Mineral City, died in the crash as they rode on a charter bus to attend a conference in Columbus. A high school teacher, Dave Kennat, 56, of Navarre, and two parent chaperones, Kristy Gaynor, 39, of Zoar, and Shannon Wigfield, 45, of Bolivar, were in a car following the bus and also died in the crash.

Funeral services for Worrell and Kennat are set for Saturday, with services for Gaynor and Mosely scheduled for Sunday. Owens and Wigfield are scheduled to be laid to rest on Tuesday.

Varansky said on Thursday that only one student remained in the hospital and several other students are continuing to recover from injuries. He said they are praying for a “full healing.”

The district will take a longer Thanksgiving break from Nov. 20 through Nov. 27.

“While it’s been important for us to be in session this week to offer our students and staff the support they need, we know a break is necessary,” Varansky said.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash.

A preliminary report is expected within three weeks, but the full investigation is expected to take at least a year.

Allie Vugrincic has been a radio reporter at WOSU 89.7 NPR News since March 2023.
Debbie Holmes has worked at WOSU News since 2009. She has hosted All Things Considered, since May 2021. Prior to that she was the host of Morning Edition and a reporter.