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Vehicular manslaughter defendant to be arraigned

Cary Ashby • Sep 22, 2019 at 5:00 PM

A Willard City Schools bus driver charged in connection with a June 28 fatal crash has an upcoming court appearance.

Rosalie Keesy, 47, of 611 Park St., Willard, is charged with vehicular manslaughter, a second-degree misdemeanor, stemming from the accident that killed Clell L. “C.L.” Jones, 75, of 3268 Townsend Road, Greenwich. Keesy’s arraignment in Norwalk Municipal Court is scheduled for 10 a.m. Sept. 30. 

If convicted, Keesy faces up to 90 days in the Huron County Jail and a maximum fine of $750.

Jones was pronounced dead at the scene. His body was transported to Eastman Funeral Home in Greenwich.

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

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, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

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. 

She is accused of being distracted by “other activity with an electronic device,” according to the crash report by the Ohio State Highway Patrol. Norwalk Law Director Stuart O’Hara has said the driver allegedly “looked down to turn down the radio” and drugs and alcohol weren’t factors.

School Superintendent Jeff 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. He also said Keesy has been placed on paid administrative leave and “taken off the operation of any board-owned vehicle.”  

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.

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