Patrol: Cause of fatal church bus crash that killed Hamilton man cannot be determined

The cause of a two-vehicle crash last Sunday that claimed the life of a church bus driver in Franklin Twp. will be listed as “unknown,” according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

“At this point, we’re unable to determine who ran the red light,” said Sgt. Christina Hayes of the Lebanon post.

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Hayes said unless an independent witness comes forward or a video of the crash is found, the cause of the crash will be unknown. She said troopers interviewed people involved in the crash as well as the 25 to 30 passengers on board the bus owned by the Franklin Church, 704 S. River St., which is affiliated with the Church of God. The passengers ranged in age from two months to 41 years old.

Archie Lyn Cheesman, 59, of Hamilton, was driving the 2003 Bluebird Bus on Sunday morning when he died in a two-vehicle crash about 9:09 a.m. at Dixie Highway and Manchester Road in Franklin Twp.

The driver of the other vehicle, Amber M. Payne, 39, of Middletown, was treated for minor injuries.

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The Warren County Coroner’s Office said the cause of Cheesman’s death was blunt force trauma from injuries sustained in the crash. The coroner’s office said that “due to the extent of the injuries sustained in the crash, it cannot be determined at this time if he experienced a prior medical event.”

Cheesman was the owner and operator for 20 years at Middletown Transmission, where he started working at age 16. He was a member of Franklin First Church of God, worked with the Shalom Homeless Program and nursing home ministry, helped with the men’s fellowship breakfast and was a sixth-to-eighth grade youth leader and bus ministry driver.

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He was remembered by the community as a kind, caring and generous man of faith.

Memorial services were concluded on Saturday.

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