Suspect in stolen school bus led officers on chase with dead deer in tow: Police

Aimee Ambrose
York Dispatch

A Florida man who allegedly led police on a pursuit in a stolen school bus from Dillsburg to the Camp Hill area reportedly told police he was driving home with a dead deer to fertilize his garden.

The reported admission came after the man, Tony Saunders Jr., allegedly led Carroll Township Police on a pursuit with the bus from Dillsburg north into Lower Allen Township on Tuesday morning.

Tony Jay Saunders Jr.

Saunders, 24, of Port St. Lucie, Florida, is jailed on charges of fleeing police, resisting arrest and receiving stolen property, as well as a summary count of reckless driving.

Pennsylvania State Police took a report earlier Tuesday morning of a Lincoln Transportation school bus that was stolen in Abbottstown, Adams County. Nearby law enforcement agencies, including those in York County, were warned to “be on the lookout,” according to the criminal complaint.

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Carroll Township Police soon learned the bus was spotted in the Dillsburg area.

After getting the call, an officer said he saw the vehicle pull out of a Giant Foods parking lot in the 800 block of Route 15 and head for the highway while its lights flashed intermittently. The bus matched the description from the theft report, the complaint by township police says.

The officer tried to stop the bus, according to details in the complaint. The driver pulled over near the Pennsylvania Turnpike junction, but then allegedly took off again. The bus then headed onto the highway while weaving in and out of lanes, leading the officer north toward Camp Hill in Cumberland County.

Police said the driver left the highway in the area of Lower Allen Drive and drove over a berm, nearly rolling the bus. He then allegedly pulled onto Gettsysburg Road before turning into a residential neighborhood in Lower Allen Township, according to the complaint.

The driver then ditched the bus and fled on foot into a wooded area. The officer followed while bystanders pointed to where they saw the motorist run, giving his description to responding officers, according to the complaint.

Police caught up to the man near a set of railroad tracks. He allegedly fled again, leading officers on a foot chase through parking lots and what was described as a high-traffic area, the complaint shows.

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Eventually, police said officers stopped the man — later identified as Saunders — and took him into custody.

Saunders allegedly admitted to police that he stole the school bus after crashing a different vehicle. He also allegedly told police that he put a dead deer in the back of the bus, explaining that he'd planned to take it home so he could use the remains to fertilize his garden.

After his arrest, Saunders was charged in district court and arraigned. Court documents show a $100,000 bail was set in the case, and he’s being held at York County Prison.

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— Reach Aimee Ambrose at or on Twitter at @aimee_TYD.