UPDATE — MATTOON, Ill. (WCIA) — Funeral arrangements for 5-year-old Sullivan student Tyson Mendoza have been made.
Arrangements are being held at Schilling Funeral Home and services begin at 1 p.m., Thursday.
The burial will follow the service and will take place at Dodge Grove cemetery.
Mendoza’s family welcomes anyone attending to wear his favorite color blue in honor of him.
Schilling Funeral Home
October 3 1 p.m.
1301 Charleston Avenue
ORIGINAL — MOULTRIE COUNTY, Ill. (WCIA) — According to Moultrie County Coroner, Lynn Reed, the names of the victims in Friday afternoon’s Sullivan bus crash have been released.
Reed pronounced Sullivan student Tyson G. Mendoza, 5, and Lori E. Samples, 56, dead at the scene, at 4:01 p.m.
The Illinois State Police say that it was a crash between a Sullivan school bus and a SUV. The SUV was at a stop sign on 800 North and drove into the intersection. They also said the school bus was driving on Route 32 and hit the SUV.
There were 11 children and one driver on the Sullivan school bus. No one else was in the SUV.
Sullivan School Superintendent Ted Walk, released this statement on Sullivan CUSD #300 Facebook page earlier today:
“As you know, our Sullivan school family suffered a horrible tragedy yesterday. The loss of a student is all of our biggest fears and the reality of this tragedy is setting in. As parents, the loss of another student or your child’s peer is not something you are prepared for.
We would like to offer a time for parents to come together to offer support to each other, as well as share some tips on how to speak to your students about this tragedy. This will be an informal meeting in the Sullivan Elementary School Gym at 4:30 pm on Sunday, September 29. Attendance is voluntary.
The area crisis team, comprised of local school psychologists, school social workers, and school counselors has been assembled and will be in the district all day on Monday. They will provide counseling and support services to our students and any staff members that are in need. We will continue to assess the need for additional emotional support moving forward.
Children grieve in a multitude of ways and in varied amounts of time. As we continue through this challenging process, please remember to contact the school if you notice that your child is having difficulty. We will work together, as a team, to provide the needed support and care for your child.”
More than 2 years ago at that intersection a bus carrying the Teutopolis boys’ basketball team was hit by a mini van that pulled out in front of them. 9 years ago Krystne Ashbrook says her aunt Carol Keown was the victim. “She was coming from Windsor to Sullivan on Route 32 and was hit by a car,” said Ashbrook. Keown died at the scene. Ashbrook says her family tried to prevent another death. “My cousins actually offered to pay to put in a stop light there, and they were turned down,” said Ashbrook.
Now the community is saying enough. “Start a movement to contact our elected officials and see what can be done to possibly make that a 4 way stop to possibly save lives there,” said Christopher Smith. “I think I stop light would be the best solution but anything would be better than nothing,” said Traci Smith, “I just hope we can get people to come together and make a change.”
The accident is still under investigation.