Driver charged in hit-run crash with school bus

LANCASTER, Pa. (WHTM) – A man has been arrested for a hit-and-run crash with a school bus that injured several students last week.

James P. Irvin III, 46, is charged with three felony counts and 32 misdemeanor counts for leaving the scene of an accident involving injury and other charges related to the May 17 crash in the 2600 block of Lincoln Highway East, in East Lampeter Township.

James Irvin III (submitted)

Lancaster County District Attorney Craig Stedman said Irvin was driving with a suspended license and apparently had been doing so since 2004.

Investigators said Irvin was trying to pass two oversize tractor-trailers and their escort vehicles where Lincoln Highway East narrows from five lanes to three. As the small school bus approached in the westbound lane, Irvin returned to the eastbound lane behind the lead escort vehicle and struck it from behind, causing it to sideswipe the bus. The bus tipped over after hitting one of the trucks.

The bus was transporting 14 Lancaster Mennonite students from Chester County. A 6-year-old boy was ejected and pinned under the bus. The Locust Grove first grader remained in critical but stable condition last week at a children’s hospital in Philadelphia. Stedman said the boy sustained “extremely serious injuries” but is doing better.

A 16-year-old who sustained broken vertebrae was released from a children’s hospital in Delaware last week. The 12 other students on the bus were treated at a hospital for minor injuries and released, along with the bus driver and the driver of the escort vehicle.

Investigators have seized Irvin’s Chevrolet Malibu and said it has front bumper and fender damage consistent with striking the escort vehicle. They said they received more than 100 tips in the case, including one that identified Irvin as the driver, after releasing surveillance video and photos of the car from a local business.

They said additional charges are possible during the ongoing crash reconstruction and investigation.

Irvin has a Norristown address, but had been staying at his parents’ home in Lancaster Township for the past several months.

He was placed in Lancaster County Prison on $100,000 cash bail. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for May 31.

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