Deer the culprit in fatal SUV/Eastern York bus crash

Written by Teresa Boeckel/The York Daily Record | Oct 30, 2017 5:26 PM

The remains of a charter bus sit in the eastbound lanes of Rt. 30 after a head-on crash with an SUV. Emergency responders had to cut away the front of the bus to extricate its driver after the crash. Students climbed out through windows with help from firefighters. (Chris Dunn/York Daily Record)

A deer on Route 30 was to blame in the early Saturday morning crash between an SUV and an Eastern York football team bus, Hellam Township Police Chief Doug Pollock said Monday afternoon.

The driver of the SUV, 23-year-old Jasmine McCarter of York, died in the crash. Two coaches and a bus driver were taken to local hospitals to be treated. None of the 21 students on the bus were transported from the scene for medical attention. 

Police obtained video from a state Department of Transportation traffic camera and watched it. They saw McCarter's vehicle, which was traveling westbound, move to the left, then the right and then aggressively swerve to the left, Pollock said. 

Her SUV shot across the median and struck the Eastern York football team bus, which was heading eastbound and was just minutes from returning to the school after an away game. McCarter's vehicle came to rest almost back in the westbound lanes, Pollock said.

A deer carcass was found in the area, and police believe the deer had been struck before McCarter came upon it. The big question is whether McCarter swerved to miss the deer carcass in the road or whether she swerved after hitting it.

"That's the part we'll probably never know," he said.

McCarter's father, James, and her aunt, Jennifer Iturmendi Murray, had said over the weekend that they believed the crash was caused when Jasmine McCarter swerved to avoid hitting a deer. 

"I could see her swerving to miss a deer," Iturmendi Murray said over the weekend. "She loved animals."

James McCarter had gone out to the scene of the crash Saturday and said he found evidence of a deer struck in the westbound lanes.

Police hope to see what the footage from the six cameras on the bus show. Krapf Bus Company picked up the data recorder on Monday for analysis, and Pollock said he hopes they will have more information in the next couple of days.

Speed was not a factor in the crash, Pollock said. State police had been watching for speeders on Route 30 West closer to the Susquehanna River.

Eastern York School District planned to have a crisis team at the school on Monday to help any students, parents or staff who needed it.

The name of the bus driver has not been released. His condition was not known on Monday afternoon.

This story comes to us through a partnership between WITF and The York Daily Record. 

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