Driver in fatal bus crash on US 31 won't face charges

Photo provided by Marshall County Prosecutor's Office

Photo provided by Marshall County Prosecutor's Office

Reconstruction provided by Marshall County Prosecutor's Office

Photo provided by Marshall County Prosecutor's Office

MARSHALL COUNTY, Ind. -- The driver who rear ended a school bus on US 31 in December 2018 that led to the death of one student and injured over 30 others will not face any charges in the case after a Grand Jury did not indict Tylor Perry.

The decision was announced Friday afternoon during a press conference.

The driver of a commercial truck, Tylor Perry, was accused of rear ending the school bus while it was stopped at a set of railroad tracks in Marshall County on December 5.

One student seated in the back of the bus, Owen Abbott, was killed and over 30 other students were injured in the crash.

According to the evidence in the case, when the buses stopped at the railroad tracks on US 31, the stop arm was not out, but the hazard lights were activated on both buses.

Perry admitted he had been taking off a shirt right before the crash and it partially obstructed his view.

“In an interview after the crash, he did admit he was removing an article of clothing that obstructed his view for a period of time. IN his statement as well, he said he saw the bus but did not link together that the bus had stopped at the railroad tracks at the time period it had actually stopped for," Deputy Prosecutor Matt Sarber said.

Perry's cruise control was set on 62 mph right before the crash.

Perry told police he saw the buses, but didn't realize they were stopped.

Sarber said the grand jury considered the curve also obstructed Perry's view.

“He, yes, did obstruct his view, the curve, the obstruction physically with the curve with the brush and then not putting together the fact that the busses were actually stopping at the railroad tracks, and not just proceeding, that is why they came to that decision," Sarber said.

When Perry realized the bus was stopped, he swerved to the left and then right before impact activated his brakes.

The truck's rack was the first part to strike the bus.

Immediately following the crash, Perry submitted to a certified test. His results came back negative for all drugs and alcohol.

The Grand Jury considered whether Perry's actions were reckless as defined by Indiana statute, "A person engages in conduct 'recklessly' if he engages in the conduct in plain, conscious, and unjustifiable disregard of harm that might result and the disregard involves a substantial deviation from acceptable standards of conduct."

The Grand Jury returned a no bill, which means it found no charges were appropriate.

The prosecutor's office said they can't say why the six grand jurors didn't return a charge but said they likely didn't believe the actions met the definition of reckless.

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