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Semi driver in fatal wrong-way I-74 crash with school bus was from Delmar

MCLEAN COUNTY, Ill. (WMBD) - All eight girls on board the Normal West bus that got hit by a semi truck Wednesday night are in stable condition and have left the hospital after two men died in a school bus vs. semi crash on Interstate 74 between Downs and Bloomington on Wednesday night.

One of those men, 34-year-old Ryan E. Hute, was from Delmar, Iowa, according to the Peoria County Coroner.

Police said the semi was traveling east in the westbound lanes when it hit the Normal Community West High School bus head-on. 

Police confirmed 72-year-old Charlie Crabtree, a longtime volunteer and bus driver for Unit 5, passed away.

West High School Principal Dave Johnson and Superintendent Mark Daniel said the JV basketball team girls, who were traveling back from an away game in Champaign, were released Thursday morning. The crash occurred at Interstate 74 between Downs and Bloomington.

In a Facebook post, the high school said basketball coach Steve Price is on his path to recovery as well, despite having many broken bones. He was transported to OSF Saint Francis Medical Center Wednesday night and will undergo surgery at some point Thursday.

The school encourages the community to continue to send him positive thoughts.

The post also reads:

Thanks to all of those who have helped support Normal West during this difficult time. We are so sad to see the passing of a great Wildcat volunteer, Charlie Crabtree. Charlie had a special way of connecting to every student he met. This is a great loss for our school.

WEST - Where Everyone Succeeds Together

The Unit 5 district remembers Crabtree as having “a special way of connecting with students," and “would always pick up extra routes."

Harwood said he is currently unsure if Hute was wearing a seatbelt, and that he suffered multiple blunt force injuries. It is also unknown why he was traveling in the wrong direction.

Hute was pronounced dead at 11:15 p.m. at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center. 

Other districts across Illinois and other states have reached out in support. Normal West staffers are working with students who may need guidance as they head back into school

"Looking at the condition of that bus, we probably witnessed a miracle," Daniel said.

The girls varsity basketball team will go on to play Richwoods at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.


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