December 06, 2018

AFSCME member injured, former member killed in Bloomington bus tragedy

school busA member of AFSCME Local 2608 was seriously injured and a former member killed in a school bus crash in Bloomington on the night of Dec. 5.

“The hearts of every AFSCME member go out to our sisters and brothers of Local 2608. Our prayers are with them and their loved ones,” AFSCME Council 31 Executive Director Roberta Lynch said. “We honor those who suffered this tragedy while serving their community.”

The bus was carrying the Normal West girls junior varsity basketball team home from a game in Champaign when it was struck head-on by a semi truck traveling the wrong way on Interstate 74, the Pantagraph reported.

The deceased is Charlie Crabtree, 72, a former bus driver who more recently volunteered with the school. As a driver in 2011, Crabtree was instrumental in the organizing campaign that led to Unit 5 drivers forming their union with AFSCME.

Local 2608 member Mark Kuhn was driving the bus when it was struck. He was airlifted to Peoria for medical treatment and is hospitalized in serious but stable condition.

Eight students were also hurt and the semi driver killed.

The drivers are grateful for the support they’re getting at this difficult time, AFSCME Local 2608 President Deb Meyer said. The morning after the crash, a community member volunteered to buy lunch for all the Unit 5 drivers as a gesture of appreciation. “I’m amazed at the way the community has come together over this,” Meyer said.

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