Barry County sheriff's deputy dies after crashing into school bus

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WASHBURN, Mo. (KY3) - A Barry County sheriff's deputy died after his patrol car crashed into a school bus on Missouri 37, a half-mile south of Washburn at County Road 1060. The crash was about 10:45 Friday morning.

Deputy Carl Cosper (courtesy, Barry County sheriff)

Deputy Carl Cosper, 56, of Pineville, died at the hospital in Cassville about an hour after the crash. The sheriff said the deputy was heading to a domestic disturbance call near Seligman.

A witness said the southbound deputy passed him on the highway at high speed before the crash, in which the patrol car ran into the passenger side of the bus. A Highway Patrol spokesman says, however, that troopers' preliminary investigation does not show the crash occurred at high speed.

The driver was the only person on the Washburn School bus, and he was not hurt. The Highway Patrol's online report says the eastbound bus, driven by William Reeves, 60, of Seligman, was trying to make a left turn and "failed to yield."

After the crash, investigators say, Cosper's car went off the east side of the highway, overturned, and ejected him. The Highway Patrol's report says Cosper was not wearing a seat belt.

Cosper's death is a shock to everyone here, including the bus driver.

"I did not see a car. I did not see lights. I didn't see a car either way. Just made my regular adventure out on this road," Reeves said.
"I did the same today as I do every day. I come from home, pull up here, stop, look both ways. I seen nothing. I pull out as normal."

Reeves then clapped his hands.

"That noise. That's it," he said, indicating the sound of the impact.

"Knowing what I know of Carl, he's probably one of my safest drivers. And it just is a sad day in Barry County. The citizens of Barry County have lost an asset, in my opinion," said Barry County Sheriff Gary Davis.

Cosper worked in the Barry County Sheriff's Department for about 10 years. In addition to being a deputy, he was also a firearms instructor, training agent, and taught classes for people who wanted conceal-carry permits.

"I've only been sheriff three months, so Carl and I were just really getting acquainted, but I'd already determined he was one of my rocks in this department, a go-to guy, do-anything-to-help-anybody," said Davis.

Members of the Barry County Sheriff's Department are, of course, giving lots of hugs and taking this hard. They've received many offers of help from surrounding departments.

The Highway Patrol is handling the crash investigation.