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NTSB Investigates Deadly Bus Accident

GRAY SUMMIT, Mo. — National Transportation Safety Board investigators examining the Missouri crash that killed a 15-year-old school bus passenger and the teen driver of a pickup truck. They are hopeful they'll learn something to make road work zones safer, an NTSB official said Friday.

NTSB Vice Chairman Christopher Hart said "people, vehicles and the environment" at the crash scene will be evaluated by the team of 14 investigators, though a final report could take up to 18 months.

The accident happened Thursday on Interstate 44, about 40 miles from St. Louis. A semi cab slowed for road construction and was struck by a pickup. Two buses carrying high school band students to Six Flags St. Louis from central Missouri then slammed into that wreck.

The accident killed 15-year-old Jessica Brinker of St. James, seated in the back seat of the first bus; and the pickup driver, 19-year-old Daniel Schatz of Sullivan. Summer is a busy time for road construction, and wrecks are common in work zones.

Statistics from the Federal Highway Administration showed 720 people died in highway work zones across the country in 2008, including 18 in Missouri.

"In a work zone, the road is going to change," said Brad Sant, a vice president for the trade group that represents road construction workers, the American Road & Transportation Builders Association. "If drivers are not paying attention, or if they're frustrated or weaving around barrels, accidents are going to happen."

“It is possible that use of state of the art Longitudinal Channelizing Devices (LCD’s) could have prevented this accident,” said Marc Christensen, Manager of OTW Safety and President of The WBMA, a trade group representing manufacturers of LCD’s, “ use of LCD’s prevents vehicles from attempting to pass backed up traffic by traveling into the work zone. The LCD is much larger, so the motorist can see the work zone further in advance than with the use of drums or cones. With more advance warning for the drivers of these vehicles, this tragedy may have been avoided.”

To learn more about plastic water-filled LCD’s, visit www.otwsafety.com or call 801-363-7740 for more information.

OTW Safety is a Salt Lake City-based company that designs and manufactures plastic barriers and LCD’s for roadway, airport, military and commercial construction. Since 1989, the company has designed innovative safety products which reduce accidents, ensure motorist and worker safety and protect our armed forces.