Police seek help finding hit-run driver in school bus crash

LANCASTER, Pa. (WHTM) – Investigators are asking truckers and others to help them find a hit-and-run driver who caused a Lancaster Mennonite School bus to crash Wednesday morning in East Lampeter Township. Several students were injured and a first-grade boy is fighting for his life.

The Lancaster County district attorney’s office and township police on Thursday released an image from surveillance video at a local business. The photo shows the white or light-colored sedan, believed to be a Chevrolet Malibu, shortly after the crash in the 2600 block of Lincoln Highway East.

Surveillance photo submitted by Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office

Investigators also asked any truck drivers with dash cameras who were in the area between 7:45 a.m. and 8 a.m. to check for possible video of the suspect vehicle.

“It’s pretty much all hands on deck to locate the vehicle and hopefully have a conversation with the driver,” township police Chief John Bowman said.

The unknown driver, believed to be about 25 to 30 years old, set off a chain-reaction crash when he tried to pass two tractor-trailers and their escort vehicles.

When he returned to his travel lane for the oncoming bus, he struck one of the escort vehicles for the oversize load. The escort vehicle then sideswiped the bus and caused it to hit the tractor-trailer’s load and tip onto its side.

A 6-year-old boy who was ejected and pinned under the bus remained in critical but stable condition at a children’s hospital in Philadelphia. A 16-year-old was expected to be released from a children’s hospital in Delaware sometime during the day.

The small bus was transporting 14 students from Chester County. Twelve students were treated at a hospital for minor injuries and released to their parents. The bus driver and an escort vehicle driver were also released after treatment.

Investigators believe the driver knows he caused a crash.

“From the reports we have, there were noises. It was clear the bus tipped over and the fleeing was not at a moderate pace,” said Brett Hambright, a spokesman for the district attorney’s office. “It seemed in the video that we have that he was just looking to get out of there.”

“We’d just like to have a discussion with him and talk to him about what happened with the accident,” Bowman said. “I think that side of the story is very important to us, so we’d really like to make that contact.”

Anyone with information on the driver is asked to call East Lampeter police at 717-291-4676.

This story has been corrected to show the critically injured child’s age is 6, not 7 as previously reported.

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