Crash report: 75-year-old bus driver involved in fatal I-44 crash was 'inattentive'


by KMOV Web Producer

Posted on August 6, 2010 at 11:24 AM

Updated Sunday, Nov 24 at 6:12 AM

Interstate 44 near Gray Summit

View larger map

(KMOV) -- Two teenagers have been killed in a major accident on eastbound I-44. The crash happened around 10:15 a.m. on Thursday on I-44 near Gray Summit in Villa Ridge, Missouri.

The Missouri Highway Patrol says this was a chain-reaction crash. It all started when a Volvo tractor cab with no trailer, driven by Michael Crabtree, 43, of Kearneysville, WV, slowed down in the right lane. Traffic was approaching a construction zone, which is likely why the truck driver stopped. A GMC pick-up truck then crashed into the tractor cab. The driver of the first school bus, Katherine Shackelford, 75, tried to change lanes, but didn't see the stopped cars in front and hit the other two cars. A second school bus, driven by Kelly Mcennis-Mullenix, 38, then smashed into the back of the first bus.

The Missouri Highway Patrol crash report says that Shackelford was "inattentive," causing her to hit the pick-up truck and Volvo tractor cab. The report also says that Mcennis-Mullenix was "following too closely" when the bus she was driving hit the first bus.

Jessica Brinker, 15, was killed in the crash while sitting in the back right of the first bus. They believe the impact of the second bus caused her death.

The driver of the GMC pick-up truck Daniel Schatz , 19, was also killed at the scene. He was a walk on football player for Mizzou as a freshman, but was not returning to the team this season. Schatz was the son of Republican state senate candidate Dave Schatz.

The buses were full of 8th-12th grade band students headed to Six Flags from St. James, Mo. The first bus was full of female students and the second bus was full of male students.Both school bus drivers were taken by ambulance to St. John's Mercy Hospital in Washington with minor injuries

Officials tell News 4 there were 64 victims in this crash. Most of the other victims were students on board the buses. All of the survivors of the crash have been released from local hospitals except for two. A teenage girl remains hospitalized at Cardinal Glennon Hospital. Hospital officials are not releasing any details about her condition. Another teenage girl is being treated at Barnes Jewish Hospital. She was transported there from St. Louis Children's Hospital around 5:00 p.m. on Thursday. She is listed in serious condition.

The National Transportation Safety Board will be investigating the crash for the next seven to ten days. An NTSB spokesperson says that they will be looking into the cause of the crash as well as school bus and construction zone safety.

Their main goal is to figure out the cause of Thursday's crash on I-44 and to make recommendations to keep similar accidents from happening again. They say they are not here to place blame or determine liability. News 4 has also learned that preliminary results from the NTSB's investigation won't be available for 14 to 18 months.

The NTSB is asking anyone who witnessed the crash to contact their local police. An update from the NTSB is expected later today.

A prayer vigil will be held for Jessica Brinker at United Methodist Church in St. James at 6 p.m. on Friday, August 6.

A prayer vigil will be held for Daniel Schatz at Sullivan High School at 8:30 p.m. on Friday, August 6.

Video of St. James Red Regiment Marching Band 2007