Semi-truck drivers gathering to honor Winamac teen killed in bus crash

NOW: Semi-truck drivers gathering to honor Winamac teen killed in bus crash


WINAMAC, Ind. – “I had just read Owen’s obituary and seen that he liked semis a lot.”

With a semi-truck parked in his backyard, Kyle Grandstaff knew he had to do something.

Now, because of Grandstaff’s efforts, complete strangers are coming together to support the family of 13-year-old Owen Abbott, the boy who lost his life last week in a tragic school bus accident on US-31.

25 semi-trucks will gather at the Church of the Heartland in Winamac Tuesday to lead Owen Abbott’s funeral procession. From there, they will drive down Main Street, around Winamac Community Middle School and finally end up where Owen will be laid to rest.

Before all that was arranged, Grandstaff said he checked in with Owen’s parents. He did not know them personally, but knew his step-daughter rode the bus to school every morning with Owen.  

“I got a hold of his mom and dad and asked them if it would be okay and they said yes,” Grandstaff said.

Then came an all-call to fellow truck drivers on Facebook. 

“I thought maybe if 10 or 20 semis showed, I thought that would be cool and it would help ease their sadness, knowing that their son was remembered,” Grandstaff said.

And he got a lot more responses than he expected to be a part of the tribute to Owen.

“My phone has literally gone off all day,” Grandstaff said. “A lot of out-of-state numbers, I haven’t gotten a chance to answer everybody between that and Facebook.”

Grandstaff said some drivers are from hours away and some are from the Winamac community.

“It’s a small community and everybody knows everybody so if we can make the parents lives a little bit easier, we will,” Grandstaff said. 

For Grandstaff, this is paying it forward…

“When my little brother passed, there was people I didn’t even know doing things for us,” Grandstaff said. “It means a lot to me. I’m a parent and I don’t know how my parents did it or how that little boy’s parents are gonna do it but I’m hoping that we as a community will support these people.”


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