No fatalities or serious injuries in bus, vehicle accident in Pa.

June 26, 2011|By ROXANN MILLER |
  • Pennsylvania State Police look at an overturned church school bus after it was involved in a accident with another vehicle on Interstate 81 in Chambersburg, Pa.
By Ric Dugan/Staff Photographer

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. — What started out as a youth retreat at a Christian camp almost ended in disaster on Sunday.

On Sunday afternoon, 16 students and six adult counselors from Cumberland Valley Christian School of Chambersburg, Pa., boarded a yellow school bus bound for Men-o-Lan camp in Quakertown, Pa., police said.

They didn’t even get out of Franklin County when the unthinkable happened.

Upon approaching exit 17 in the northbound lanes of Interstate 81, the yellow bus collided with another vehicle and flipped on its roof. Luggage was strewn by the side of the bus.

“It was a very serious crash. Anytime you roll a bus, there’s going to be a problem,” Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Tom Pinkerton said.

Pinkerton said all the injuries were moderate and everyone was transported to Chambersburg Hospital or Waynesboro (Pa.) Hospital.

Summit Health spokeswoman Jessica Walter said 18 patients were treated in Chambersburg, while seven were treated at Waynesboro Hospital. The children treated ranged in age from 9 to 12, Walter said. Some of the adults treated were parents of the children, she said in an email.

All injuries were relatively minor, she said.

Pinkerton said after looking at the Cadillac involved in the crash and the school bus, he wondered how anyone survived.

He said the Cadillac was following the bus, attempting to pass it on the left side.

He said the school bus was traveling in the center lane because there are three lanes at the exit 17 ramp.

The Cadillac attempted to pass the bus on the left, but there was another vehicle in the left lane, he said.

Pinkerton said the driver of the Cadillac oversteered, causing his car to go sideways in front of the bus.

Both vehicles ran off the highway into the ditch.

“The bus hit the guardrail, causing it to roll on its side and roof,” Pinkerton said.

He said three children and the driver of the Cadillac had to be extricated.

Police identified the driver of the Cadillac as Edward Shaffer, 79, of Hagerstown.

The accident is still under investigation, Pinkerton said.

Joseph Henderson, 52, of Chambersburg, was driving the school bus, police said.

The interstate was reopened at 9 p.m.

Police said at least 10 people passing by the scene stopped and rendered aid. Shaffer and Henderson were wearing seat belts, Pinkerton said.

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