PIQUA — During their meeting Thursday evening, amid a standing-room-only crowd, the Piqua City Schools Board of Education recognized three Ohio State Highway Patrol officers who assisted at the scene of an accident involving a Piqua school bus last month, in which two district employees were seriously injured.
James Davis, Chip Gannon, Jason Hutchison and David Robison were honored for assisting bus driver Cayley Seitz and aide Harold “JR” Raybern Jr. in the four-vehicle crash, which occurred Dec. 14, and shut down southbound I-75 for nearly two hours.
Seitz was trapped briefly on the bus, which was on fire. She suffered fourth-degree burns, which necessitated the amputation of part of her foot and toes. Raybern continues to use a wheelchair. Both have been in and out of the hospital since the accident, according to Piqua City Schools Superintendent Dwayne Thompson.
“I didn’t realize how heroic (the troopers’) actions were until (Assistant Superintendent) Tony (Lyons) and I went through the film,” Thompson said, his voice choked with emotion. “It really emphasized the fact that they put their own lives at risk.”
The troopers received plaques “for their heroic and selfless acts … we are forever grateful,” stated Board President Andy Hite.
Both Seitz and Raybern attended the meeting and thanked the troopers for their bravery.
“‘Thank you’ will never be enough. My babies will get to have a mom because of you,” said Seitz, who revealed that she is 12 weeks pregnant.
Raybern called it a “miracle” that the troopers were nearby and able to get to the scene quickly.
“If they’d been farther away, there’s a good chance we wouldn’t be here,” he said, adding later that he also was thankful to the district and his coworkers for their thoughts and prayers, cards and donations.
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