Medical examiner: Man who hit softball team’s bus tested negative for drugs

KONAWA, Okla. – Officials say the body of a man who slammed into the bus for the Konawa Junior High softball team has tested negative for drugs.

On March 8, an SUV crashed into a Konawa Junior High School softball team’s bus, killing 12-year-old student Rhindi Isaacs.

Isaacs, five of her junior high softball teammates and a coach were heading home from a game in Okemah. The bus was traveling southbound on US 377, just south of Bowlegs, at around 7:15 p.m. when the Oklahoma Highway Patrol said an SUV heading northbound, driven by John Edward Tallbear, crashed into the bus.

John Edward Tallbear

Officials said Tallbear, 61, tried to pass another vehicle, only to cross into the bus’ path. Both drivers swerved to avoid each other but struck each other, bursting into flames.

Tallbear and another person in the SUV were also killed. The others on the bus were taken to the hospital to be checked out and released.

Earlier this month, the medical examiner’s office ruled Tallbear’s death an accident, and determined his probable cause of death was multiple blunt force trauma.

After the crash, the Konawa Public School District said Tallbear was driving intoxicated when he crashed into the bus.

News 4 learned that Tallbear was arrested for driving while intoxicated twice in the weeks leading up to the deadly crash.

On Thursday, the medical examiner released a toxicology report for Tallbear, showing that he tested negative for drugs.

However, officials say a blood alcohol test could not be performed because his body was so severely burned.

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