Teen driver released from hospital following Lakota school bus crash

Three students on bus received minor injuries, officials said.

LIBERTY TWP. — A teen driver injured in Monday’s crash involving a school bus has been released from the hospital, according to the Butler County Sheriff’s Office.

The crash happened around 3:45 p.m. Monday near the intersection of Lesourdsville-West Chester and Yamasee roads in Liberty Twp. The accident involved bus No. 122, which departed from VanGorden Elementary in the Lakota Local Schools District.

Diego Panzo, 18, was trapped in the wrecked silver Nissan Altima that struck the left portion of the bus, said BCSO Sgt. Steve Poff.

Panzo was taken to U.C. Hospital Main Campus with life-threatening injuries. Poff said Friday the teen was released from the hospital.

A neighbor working in her home office told the Journal-News she heard and felt the crash, then ran to the school bus making sure 911 had been called.

The woman then went back to the car and there were two boys that had walked up on the driver’s side and indicated someone was in the vehicle.

Only a little bit of Panzo’s face was visible through the broken windshield, so the woman tried to talk to him through that hole, telling him help was coming. She was concerned about the amount of smoke coming from the car and called a neighbor for a fire extinguisher.

Poff, of Butler County’s Serious Accident Reconstruction Team, said the preliminary investigation indicates Panzo went left of center, striking the bus.

“It is still under investigation. We don’t know the reason he crossed the centerline,” Poff said, but noted Panzo will likely be issued a traffic citation for the crash. “We are waiting to get the video from the bus because they all have dash cams.”

The bus had 48 students and a driver, Diana Camacci, on board, according the crash report.

“The driver of the school bus was not injured. Three students reported injuries. Of the three, two were treated at the scene and released to their parents. One student was transported to Cincinnati Children Liberty Twp. campus with minor injuries,” according to the sheriff’s office.

School officials said Camacci was back to work on her bus route the next day.

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