Eastern York football team bus collides with SUV on Rt. 30, SUV driver dies

Written by Teresa Boeckel, The York Daily Record | Oct 28, 2017 9:46 AM
Eastern York Bus Crash_600X360.jpg

(Photo: Chris Dunn, York Daily Record)

The remains of a charter bus sit in the eastbound lanes of U.S. 30 just west of the Wrightsville exit early Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017. Hellam Fire Company chief Eric Strittmatter said a 1:02 a.m. call reported a westbound Ford Explorer crossed the median and collided with a charter bus transporting the Eastern York varsity football team back to the school after they played against Central High School in Martinsburg, Pa. Strittmatter said the driver of the Ford Explorer was killed, while two coaches and the bus driver were transported to York Hospital and Lancaster General Hospital. No students were transported for medical care.

(York) -- Sophomore linebacker/wide receiver Eliot Whiteside said he heard a loud bang and the brakes squeal when a tour bus carrying the Eastern York football team, just minutes from home, collided head-on with a Ford Explorer early Saturday morning.

And then he smelled the brakes.

The bus transporting the team and coaches from a Friday night game in Martinsburg, Blair County, collided with the SUV on Route 30 in Hellam Township at about 1 a.m. Saturday, according to officials.

That stretch of Route 30, located near Wrightsville, was closed in both directions. Westbound reopened at about 5:30 a.m. Eastbound reopened just after 6 a.m.

The driver of the SUV was declared dead at the scene of the crash. Identification of the victim and additional details will be released after notification of the driver's next of kin, according to the York County Coroner's office.

Hellam Fire Chief Eric Strittmatter said that the SUV was traveling westbound when it suddenly crossed the median and struck the eastbound bus.

The driver was ejected.

Senior offensive/defensive lineman Carl Carbaugh said the "vehicle driving westbound flipped over the median" before hitting the bus.

Strittmatter said no players were transported from the scene, but that two coaches and the bus driver were transported to nearby hospitals. The coaches were seated at the front of the bus.

One coach was transported to York Hospital and the others went to Lancaster General Hospital.

One driver, four coaches, an athletic trainer and 20 students were on the bus. 

Carbaugh said they had been on the road about 2 1/2 hours, after the game at Central High School in Martinsburg, which Eastern lost 41-0. He called it a "crazy night." 

The players "had to evacuate through side windows because the front of the bus was caved in," said Carbaugh, who was named homecoming king just two weeks ago.

Parent Tina Smeltzer was asleep when her best friend called, saying she had a bad feeling about an emergency call she heard.

Smeltzer didn't go to Friday's game because her son, Jayden Ness, suffered a concussion in last week's game and couldn't play, although he went to the game.

A quick call to her son confirmed that the bus was in the crash and that he was being checked out.

"It was definitely the worst feeling as a parent, not knowing just how bad, if any injuries, your child and fellow teammates/coaches may have," Smeltzer said in a message early Saturday morning.

This story is part of a partnership between WITF and the York Daily Record.

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