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Drivers identified in I-44 bus crash

ST. LOUIS | Additional information released Friday about Thursday's fatal school bus crash at Gray's Summit includes the name of the drivers involved.

According to the Missouri Highway Patrol:

Michael Crabtree, 43, was driving a 2007 Volvo conventional tractor without a trailer east on Interstate 44 in the right lane of the two-lane road. Crabtree, of Kearneysville, W. Va., stopped after spotting a traffic back-up from a construction zone about a mile ahead.

A second vehicle, a 2007 GMC Sierra pickup truck, was traveling eastbound behind the tractor, but the driver, Daniel Schatz, 19, of Sullivan, failed to notice Crabtree’s stopped vehicle. Schatz’s pickup struck the rear of the tractor and came to a stop.

Katherine Schackelford, 75, of St. James was driving a 2003 Blue Bird school bus from the St. James School District behind Schatz. The bus collided with Schatz’s vehicle, pushing it on top of Crabtree’s Volvo tractor.

Kelly Mcennis-Mullenix, 38, of St. James was driving a 2001 Blue Bird school bus, also from the St. James School District, and struck the rear of the first school bus. The impact pushed the first bus up and on top of the two other vehicles.

Twenty-five female students and chaperons were aboard the first bus. Thirty male students and chaperons were aboard the second bus. Two teens died in the wreck.

After the crash, the driver of the Volvo tractor, the two bus drivers, and 54 students were transported to local hospitals for treatment of injuries that ranged from minor to moderate.

Schatz was pronounced dead at the scene at 1:15 p.m. and a female student, Jessica Brinker, 15, of St. James, was pronounced dead at the scene at 1:38 p.m. by Franklin County Medical Examiner’s Office personnel.

The two school buses were owned and operated by Copeland Bus Services LLC of St. James and leased to the St. James School District.

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