Officers Recognized for Exemplary Work in Tragic Bus Crash Investigation

Communications Director

Eric Vreeland
evreeland@knoxvilletn.gov
(865) 215-3480

400 Main St., Room 654A
Knoxville, TN 37902

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News item

Officers Recognized for Exemplary Work in Tragic Bus Crash Investigation

Posted: 11/16/2015
KPD Officers of the MOnthKnoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero and Police Chief David Rausch awarded a Unit Commendation to four officers for their exemplary work performance during a very tragic event that occurred in our community.  

On December 2, 2014, Knoxville Police Department officers along with countless first responders, teachers, community members, and families had their lives changed when two Knox County school buses collided on Asheville Highway.  Two Sunnyview Primary School students and a teacher’s aide died in the horrific crash.  Many “heroes” responded to the scene and worked through the evening to treat victims and investigate the crash.  Most completed their assignments and went home to their families and friends.  They have since shared their stories of how those few hours on the scene changed their lives.  None have sought recognition or reward. They simply did their job.

For KPD Sgt. Brian Evans, and Officers Ron Trentham, Larry Presnell, and Wally Spitzer, the few hours most spent on the scene dealing with the tragedy has turned into months and will continue for many more years.  These officers responded immediately to the scene to do whatever they could to help.  When they arrived, they were assigned the difficult task of investigating the crash and the circumstances surrounding it.  

Sgt. Evans and Officers Trentham, Presnell, and Spitzer began the process of putting the pieces of the crash back together to try to determine what happened and why it happened.  The officers completed hundreds of interviews, spent countless hours examining evidence, and reviewed thousands of pages of files and documents.  They worked countless hours with local, state, and federal agencies.  During this time they remained focused and professional and worked tirelessly to figure out “why.”

Chief Rausch said, “These officers worked on the case on a daily basis for months and were eventually able to answer many questions for those who were affected by this tragedy.  Their work has led to changes that will hopefully ensure a tragedy like this never occurs again, and maybe has given a small piece of closure to all those that were affected.”

“We recognize them for their commitment to the victims and for their service to the Knoxville community,” Chief Rausch concluded.