Winamac community mourns the loss of child killed in school bus crash

Owen Abbott // Photo provided by family

A boy was killed Wednesday in a school bus crash on U.S. 31.

The Marshall County prosecutor says a decision on whether to file charges won't be made until the investigation is complete.

Wednesday’s crash killed 13-year-old Owen Abbott. He was sitting in the back of a school bus that was hit by a truck at a railroad crossing. Abbott was a student at Winamac Middle School.

The Marshall County Prosecutor is urging patience. He says he understands everyone is hungry for information in this case. But it takes time to do an investigation like this properly.

He says it’s just too soon to say if the truck driver, 26-year-old Tylor Perry, will face charges for the crash.

As the Winamac community waits for that answer, they’re also mourning the loss of Owen Abbott.

“I was speaking with one of his teachers yesterday who said 'Yeah he could be pretty squirrely at times, but when push came to shove, he knew where the line in the sand was and he’d settle down and buckle down',” said Superintendent Dan Foster, Eastern Pulaski Community School Corporation. “He was just a good kid that was very well-liked.”

Abbott was a popular boy, liked by his teachers and classmates.

After Wednesday, many might have wanted to stay home and mourn privately. But not teachers in Winamac.

“All of those staff members were here today and they wanted to be for the kids and thought that would show the kids we can do this. But it’s going to take everybody,” said Foster.

To help in the grieving process, Foster has brought in counselors from all over the county.

“They’re trying to encourage students more this afternoon to start trying to get back into a little more routine,” said Foster. They will deal with some of the students that are individually still struggling and we have many.”

Whatever may be going through students’ minds, they had another avenue for comfort, dogs from Lutheran Church Charities. They listen to the kids and take a lot in with no judgment.

“At this stage some of them don’t know how to react yet,” said Foster. “And that’s another thing that I put in the notice last night. You may just be numb, you may be angry, you may be frustrated, you may be confused, you may not know how to act.”

Foster says counselors will be available for a while. He says those counselors have told him, it may take three to five years for the kids to fully process this tragedy.

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