Church bus driver killed in Middletown crash identified, community mourning his loss

Community mourning loss of man killed in church school bus crash

MIDDLETOWN, Ohio (FOX19) - The driver of a church bus died Sunday after a two-vehicle crash in Middletown, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

OSHP says the crash happened at 9:38 a.m. on Dixie Highway at Manchester Road in Franklin Township.

Troopers say Archie Cheesman, 59, of Hamilton, Ohio, was driving the bus north on Dixie Highway when it was struck in the side by a Subaru Outback operated by Amber Payne, 29, of Middletown.

OSHP says the bus traveled off the left side of the road and struck a traffic sign and a utility pole.

Payne was treated for minor injuries.

Cheesman, who OSHP says was not wearing his seatbelt, was pronounced dead at the scene.

There were 25 passengers on the bus with ages ranging from 2 months to 41 years, according to OSHP, some of which were treated for nonlife-threatening injuries.

FOX19 NOW spoke to friends of Cheesman, who say he was on his way to church when the crash happened.

Archie Cheesman
Archie Cheesman (Source: Provided)

“Archie was a very outgoing person,” Melissa Martin said. “He was a giving person. He would give his life if anybody was in need.”

Cheesman, his friends say, was a member of My Franklin Church in Franklin, where we’re told he was heavily involved.

The church acknowledged Cheesman’s loss in a Facebook post today, calling it a “tragedy” and canceling Sunday’s services.

A small, impromptu memorial has been created outside Middletown Transmission, a shop his friends say Cheesman owned.

“It’s very, very devastating to his family, definitely the church,” Martin said. “He’s going to be very missed by everybody in the community.”

Madison Miller echoed Martin’s sentiments.

“Archie we love you, and also, I have one thing you need to hear," Miller added. “Everyone loves you, and they will miss you, and we hope you have a great time in heaven.”

OSHP is continuing to investigate the crash.

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