MONTVILLE TOWNSHIP, Ohio — Frightening video from multiple cameras shows a tractor-trailer narrowly miss crashing into a bus full of elementary school children in Montville Township, Ohio.
The incident happened around 8:30 a.m. Tuesday on State Route 57 near State Route 162 as a school bus driver was transporting kids to Ralph E. Waite Elementary School in the Medina School District.
A dash camera on the tractor-trailer and several bus-mounted cameras captured the semi swerving around the bus, which had stopped in the northbound lane with its red lights flashing and its stop sign arm out.
On video provided by Montville Township Police, you can hear the truck driver breathing deeply and saying, "Stop, Stop, Stop, Stop. No," as he neared the back of the bus. He also sounded his horn several times.
Onboard the bus, an experienced driver who was training a new driver heard the truck rumbling closer and said, "Oh God, he ain't gonna make it."
A vehicle just behind the bus pulled off the road as the tractor-trailer veered into the southbound lane. The driver of a pickup truck, stopped in the southbound lane, avoided the oncoming semi by backing up and hitting an SUV behind it.
The tractor-trailer driver managed to weave around the bus and other vehicles without hitting any of them, but the close call sent shivers down the spines of school district employees, parents and police.
Police Chief Matt Neil said the driver managed to stop the tractor-trailer about 1/4 of a mile down the road before he continued back to a truck yard.
Contacted by officers later that morning, the driver was very shaken and said his brakes went out as he was traveling 40 to 45 mph in the 80,000-pound vehicle, according to the chief.
Neil said this could have been a major disaster potentially resulting in many injuries or fatalities.
"I'm just glad that crisis was averted. This could have been devastating to our community, to the whole county, the whole area," Neil said. "He handled everything in a very professional manner. In 15 seconds, he had to make a decision: Where am I putting this 80,000-pound truck?"
Still, police have many questions, including why did the driver continue to operate the truck after a suspected equipment failure? And what led to the possible failure of the brakes?
Police may consult with prosecutors about possible charges.
A motor carrier inspector is also part of the ongoing investigation.