One person is dead and others injured after a car crashed headlong into a charter bus carrying Covington Catholic High School students and chaperones returning from the March for Life in Washington, D.C.
The crash took place around 7:20 a.m. on Saturday, Campbell County police told WLWT. Witnesses told the news outlet that a southbound car entered the northbound lanes of the AA highway, striking the bus head-on.
“I saw a car come across the median and head toward me,” witness Ricky Lynn, who was also driving north, told WLWT. “I was able to get out of the way.”
The driver was pronounced dead at the scene. Witnesses told WLWT that a priest on the bus gave the driver of the car a final blessing.
The passenger side of the bus was damaged in the crash, and passengers escaped through the emergency windows. The bus was traveling in a caravan of four, bringing about 200 people back from the March for Life.
“This morning, a bus carrying students and chaperones home from the March for Life in Washington, DC was involved in an accident,” the Diocese of Covington said in a statement. “EMT personnel and the Campbell County police have been at the scene and are handling the matter. Please join us in praying for everyone involved in this accident.”
Covington Catholic rose to national attention after media outlets rushed with a story portraying Nick Sandmann, a student at the school, supposedly smirking disrespectfully at a Native American man after the March for Life in 2019. As more information came out, it became clear that Sandmann was not the aggressor, and Sandmann and his fellow classmates ultimately filed defamation lawsuits against media figures who had rushed the story. CNN settled one of these lawsuits early this year.
Due to the false story, Sandmann and his fellow classmates have been broadly demonized by anti-Trump figures in the media and others. It remains unclear whether this crash was premeditated in any way.
Sandmann attended the March for Life again this year. “I will never pass on an opportunity to March for Life,” he tweeted, sharing photos of himself at the protest.
I will never pass on an opportunity to March for Life! pic.twitter.com/iU0ohmdcTJ
— Nicholas Sandmann (@N1ckSandmann) January 24, 2020
It remains unclear whether he was on one of the busses or if he was on the bus involved in the crash.
Whether or not the driver targeted the Covington Catholic buses, the priest on the crashed bus took the time to pray for the driver as he or she died.
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.