Investigation continues into Sunday crash that killed church bus driver with children onboard

A man who died in a bus crash Sunday morning was described on social media as a “fine” and “wonderful” person.

Archie Cheesman, 59, of Hamilton, died in a two-vehicle crash about 9:09 a.m. Sunday at Dixie Highway and Manchester Road in Franklin Twp. He was driving a 2003 Bluebird Bus owned by Franklin First Church of God with about 25 people on board at the time of the crash, according to Doyle Burke, Warren County chief coroner’s investigator.

State troopers said the passengers ranged in age from 2 months to 41.

Another local church helped to transport the passengers to the Franklin church.

Ohio State Highway Patrol Sgt. Christina Hayes said were no other serious injuries reported in the crash.

Burke said some of the bus passengers were taken to local hospitals for medical evaluations by private vehicles and not by ambulance. He was not sure of the exact number of people who were injured in the crash. Burke said Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers were investigating the crash with the assistance of Middletown police and Warren County Sheriff’s deputies.

Troopers said some of the bus passengers were treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

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The highway patrol said the preliminary investigation showed that the church bus was traveling northbound on Dixie Highway and the other vehicle, a 2013 Subaru driven by Amber M. Payne, 39, of Middletown, involved was traveling eastbound on Manchester Road and struck the bus on its left side before coming to rest in the roadway. The bus continued northbound before going off the left side of the roadway and crashing into a traffic sign and a Duke Energy utility pole.

Payne was treated for minor injuries at a local hospital. The cause of the crash is still under investigation.

The crash also resulted in a Duke Energy utility pole being damaged by the bus. Earlier in the day, Duke Energy reported an outage affecting about 560 homes in the area, however, as of 3:45 p.m. there were no outages in that area. It also required the closure of Dixie Highway until Duke Energy made its repairs and restored service.

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Theresa Rogers of Middletown said she did not know Cheesman well, but he had picked up her son Daniel, 15, every week for church on Wednesdays and Sundays.

She said Cheesman and her son were very close and that Cheesman owned Middletown Transmission.

On Sunday, Rogers said her son felt that he shouldn’t go to church, and he was not on the bus at the time of the crash.

“I hated that this happened to him,” Rogers said. “God must have really wanted him to come home.”

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