LANCASTER, Pa. (WHTM) – Fourteen children and their driver were injured Wednesday morning when their school bus overturned in a crash caused by a hit-and-run driver, investigators said. A 7-year-old was ejected from the bus and was critically injured.
The Lancaster County district attorney’s office said the small bus was transporting Lancaster Mennonite students when the crash occurred shortly before 8 a.m. at Route 30 and Route 896 near the Rockvale Outlets, locally known as the 2600 block of Lincoln Highway East, in East Lampeter Township.
The student who was ejected from the bus was pinned underneath it. The first-grader at the Locust Grove campus was flown to a children’s hospital in Philadelphia.
Another student, a 10th grader, was flown to a children’s hospital in Delaware and was in stable condition.
“Obviously, our first source is God and the strength that he provides in situations like this,” Tieszen said. “It’s never easy, but we reach out and believe we have God as a strength and source through all of this, and there are always positives amongst the difficulties.”
Tieszen said the bus was transporting students 7 to 18 years old from Chester County.
Twelve other students were treated for minor injuries at Lancaster General Hospital and released to their parents by noon. The bus driver and another driver involved in the crash were also released after treatment.
Investigators said they’re looking for a man who caused the crash by trying to pass two tractor-trailers and their escort vehicles while headed east.
When the sedan veered back into the east lane for the approaching westbound bus, it struck an escort vehicle for the oversize load. The escort vehicle sideswiped the bus, which then hit a tractor-trailer’s load and tipped onto its side.
Cameron Hoober, a student on the bus, said he heard a screech of tires and two loud bangs before the bus overturned.
“There were people and bags on top of me,” Hoober said. “I was stuck underneath all this stuff. I tried to stay calm as others were in shock and freaking out.”
“The first words out of his mouth were I was in a bad accident on the bus, but I’m okay,” Hoober’s mother Karen said.
“Across our student families, school community, there has been an overwhelming outpouring of support,” Tieszen said. “Even when news broke this morning, there were people that lived close to the hospital that brought coffee and just showed up to provide support. It’s a great community.”
Police said the driver who did not stop was in a light-colored, newer-model sedan that likely has front-bumper damage. He’s believed to be 25 to 30 years old with short hair.
“We have investigators that are working with other departments around us to try to see if we can find any more information on that vehicle,” East Lampeter police Chief John Bowman said.
District Attorney Craig Stedman’s office said investigators are reviewing all options, including cameras, to gather more information about the vehicle, but the driver fled away from the business district and outlets, which would have provided a better chance for more witnesses and possible video.
“We never really speculate on charges, but we can certainly say this crash has caused devastation,” a spokesman said in a statement. “We have a young child fighting for their life and numerous other students, and their families and friends, traumatized.”
Anyone with information is asked to call East Lampeter police at 717-291-4676.
“If anybody has any information or they saw something, either leading up to or right after the accident, that they think would be important, feel free to give us a call. It would be very helpful,” Bowman said.
Route 30 was closed in both directions between Eastbrook Road and Ronks Road before reopening around 3:20 p.m.
Hit-run crash with school bus injures 14 students, driver
Hit-run crash with school bus injures 14 students, driver x
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