SC man killed when pinned between school bus and van, Lexington police say

A Lexington man was killed Monday when the motorcycle he was riding was hit from behind by a van and he was pinned against a school bus, South Carolina officials said.

Jon Douglas Ratcliffe, 45, died in what Lexington County Coroner Margaret Fisher called an accident.

At about 7:15 a.m. Monday, officers responded to the three-vehicle collision in the 100 block of Industrial Drive, according to the Lexington Police Department. That’s near Exit 55 on Interstate 20.

Officers learned a van crashed into a motorcycle and a Lexington 1 school district school bus that had stopped to pick up bus-riding students, police said.

An investigation showed that the school bus slowed to a stop and the motorcycle stopped behind it, according to police.

The van driver did not see the stopped vehicles and collided first with the motorcycle, sending Ratcliffe into the back of the bus and pushing the motorcycle a distance away from the scene, police said. The van then collided with the back of the bus, pinning Ratcliffe between the van and the bus, according to police.

A school bus and work van were involved in a fatal crash with a motorcycle, police said.
A school bus and work van were involved in a fatal crash with a motorcycle, police said.

Ratcliffe, who was wearing a helmet, died at the scene, Fisher said.

There were seven students and a driver on the bus, and one student suffered a cut on his arm, according to police. EMS took the injured student to an area hospital, police said.

All of the other students were reunified with their parents and guardians away from the collision scene, according to police.

The van driver, later identified as 20-year-old West Columbia resident Giovani Mendoza-Jimenez, also was injured and taken to the hospital with what police called minor injuries.

Police said Mendoza-Jimenez was at fault for the collision and he has been charged with driving without a driver’s license. He was taken to the Lexington County Detention Center, where he was also charged with driving vehicle at greater speed than is reasonable as well as failure to stop when meeting or passing stopped school bus, jail records show.

Additional charges could be pending, police said.

No bond has been set for Mendoza-Jimenez, who remains behind bars, according to jail records.

In addition to police and the coroner’s office, other agencies that responded to the scene and assisted in the investigation included the South Carolina Highway Patrol, Lexington County Sheriff’s Department, South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, and the Town of Lexington Transportation Department.

Police said that Industrial Drive, from S.C. 6/South Lake Drive to Zenker Road, was closed for several hours because of the investigation.

Through Sunday, 346 people had died on South Carolina roads in 2024, according to the state Department of Public Safety. Last year, 1,030 people died in crashes in South Carolina, DPS reported.

At least 21 people have died in Lexington County crashes in 2024, according to DPS data. There were 45 deaths reported in the county in 2023, DPS said.