Driver convicted for crash that tipped a school bus carrying 14 students

A Lancaster man was convicted of all charges for causing a multi-vehicle crash a year ago in East Lampeter Township that tipped a school bus carrying 14 students.

James Irvin III, 47, was charged with making an illegal pass on Lincoln Highway East, near Route 896, and triggering a crash on May 17, 2017.

The multi-vehicle accident resulted in a school bus carrying Lancaster Mennonite School students tipping over on its side.

Two of the students inside the bus were seriously injured.

The Lancaster County Court judge returned a guilty verdict to 68 counts, including nine felony counts of aggravated assault, aggravated assault by vehicle and hit-and-run.

Police at the trial presented a reconstruction of the crash, which showed:

  • Irvin's Chevy Malibu was traveling east on Route 30 and was in a right turning lane, but instead of turning, sped straight through the intersection, passing vehicles, including an oversized load tractor-trailer. A second oversized load rig and escort vehicle were just ahead of the first set.
  • The Malibu passed from the right turn lane, across the eastbound lane and center turn-only lane, and into the westbound lane, where the school bus approached from.
  • The Malibu was traveling about 70 mph before impact.

Irvin was driving on a suspend license and fled the scene of the crash. He was arrested about a week later.

The school bus driver, Timothy Weber, said at the trial that he noticed the Irvin's erratic driving and thought, "What kind of an idiot is this to be doing this?”

Weber then heard two bangs and the buss tipping.

“I said, ‘Oh no. Oh Lord no.’ Then we went over,” Weber testified.

Weber reportedly became emotional when describing a 6-year-old he saw pinned under the bus.

“I asked God why,” Weber said of the 6-year-old. “It wasn’t a good sight… All I could see were his little legs and arms.”

The 6-year-old sustained multiple injuries including, a fractured clavicle, a lacerated spleen and rib fractures.

A 16-year-old boy also sustained a fractured vertebrate. Nine other students sustained less-serious injuries.

The judge raised Irvin's bail to $300,000 cash due to Irvin being a flight risk.

He will be sentenced in about three months, following a background check.

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