The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

December 24, 2012

Top 10 of 2012 | Trucker killed in crash with bus

The Tribune-Democrat is counting down the top stories of 2012, as determined by voting by newsroom employees. One story will appear each day in print and e-editions between now and the end of the year. Readers can vote for their choice for the top story at

In March, a nearly head-on collision involving a tractor-trailer and school bus claimed the life of the trucker and injured more than 20 occupants on the bus.

About 22 students were on the bus, returning to the Turkeyfoot Valley Area School District from the Somerset County Career and Technology Center.

The accident took place on Route 281, about 11/2 miles south of New Lexington and just north of the village of Kingwood.

State police said the tractor-trailer was northbound when it crossed the center line and struck the bus.

The trucker was identified as Robert Dodson Jr. of Duncansville.

Two adults and three students were taken by medical helicopter to Memorial Medical Center.

At least three other students were flown to hospitals in Pittsburgh and Cumberland, Md.

The bus driver, Wilbert Eugene Kemp of Confluence, was taken to Memorial Medical Center, were he underwent surgery.

Other injured students were treated and released from hospitals.

Gregg Snyder of Rockwood rushed to the scene when he heard about the accident to offer assistance.

“The impact was horrendous. I’ve never seen anything like that before. It’s a wonder there weren’t more critical injuries,” he said.

Mark Bower, superintendent of Rockwood Area School District, was among school officials helping with the tragedy.

“It’s my worst nightmare as a superintendent, parent and community member,” he said about the accident.

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More police on the streets.

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