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It’s been one year since the deadly Normal West bus crash

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December 5, 2018

MCLEAN COUNTY (WEEK) -- One year later, Central Illinois is still mourning a fatal vehicle crash that claimed two lives.

On December 5, 2018, a school bus carrying the Normal West JV Girls Basketball team crashed into a semi truck that was driving the wrong way on I-74 East outside of Bloomington.

The team was returning from a game in Champaign.

Longtime Normal West volunteer and scorekeeper Charlie Crabtree, 72, and semi truck driver Ryan Hute, 34, were both killed.

The school bus driver was in critical condition after the crash, and the team's coach, Steve Price, was hospitalized with multiple broken bones.

All eight team members were hurt but not seriously.

The Peoria County Coroner says Hute didn't have any alcohol or drugs in his system at the time of the crash.

It's still unclear how or why the truck was driving on the wrong side of the interstate.

The tragic crash sparked an outpouring of support from the community, as other local schools and even opposing teams making signs and sending messages of support for Normal West.

Charlie Crabtree was a volunteer with the JV girls basketball team for decades.

Just days after the Wednesday crash, the team decided to play their scheduled game on Saturday, in Crabtree's honor.

Since the crash, multiple awards and scholarships have been created in Crabtree's name.

In January, Kathleen Crabtree, the widow of Charlie Crabtree, filed a lawsuit against Jason Ferrell Trucking in Iowa and the estate of Ryan Hute.

The attorney for Crabtree said she is "not going after the money for her own sake.”

The Red Cross also honored the group as heroes in a ceremony this year, including all 8 team members, Coach Steve Price, the bus driver, and Charlie Crabtree.

Sheridan Swathwood

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