Two Eastern football coaches injured in bus crash that killed other driver

Susquehannock at Eastern York football, Friday, Oct. 13, 2017. John A. Pavoncello photo

At 1 a.m. Saturday morning, Eastern York head football coach Jeff Mesich was a passenger in a team van trailing behind the chartered bus carrying most of the members of his team, with one of his assistants, Gerald Waltemyer, driving the van.

As the vehicles were westbound on Route 30, moments from the Wrightsville exit where they would get off, Mesich saw an SUV from the eastbound lanes cross the median into their path.

Mesich said he saw what was about to take place at the last minute as the car was coming across the median. Waltemyer slammed on the brakes to the van to avoid rear-ending the bus as the bus slammed on its brakes.

Hellam Township Police Chief J. Douglas Pollock said Jasmine McCarter, 23, of York City, was driving a Ford Explorer west on Route 30 when it crossed the median and hit the bus carrying the Eastern York High School varsity football team home from a Friday night game nearly head on.

McCarter's vehicle rolled and ejected her, Pollock said. She was not wearing a seatbelt. Three adults on the bus, the driver and two other coaches, were injured.

Mesich said they immediately called 911. He and Waltemyer then got out of the van and, as Mesich went to check on the team on the bus, Waltemyer checked on the driver of the SUV.

The York County Coroner’s Office pronounced McCarter, of South George Street, dead at the scene. She was the only one in the vehicle, the coroner's office said.

McCarter died of multiple blunt force trauma, according to the coroner's report. Her death was ruled an accident, and no autopsy will be performed.

Hellam Township Police are investigating the crash. Pollock said officers did not find any indication of drugs or alcohol at the scene, but the coroner's office will test the driver's blood with a toxicology panel.

The Eastern York School District released a statement saying the crash happened as the Eastern York Golden Knights were returning from a game against the Scarlet Dragons at Central High School in Blair County's Spring Cove School District.

On the bus: The Krapfs coach bus was traveling east between the Burgs Lane overpass and the Wrightsville exit at the time of the crash, Pollock said.  

There were 21 students, three coaches, an athletic trainer and the driver on the bus at the time of the wreck, according to the district.

Pollock said students had to exit through the coach's windows and were able to reunite with parents at the scene, which was cleared by about 5 a.m.

Although no students were injured, two coaches were taken to Memorial Hospital for treatment of minor injuries, he said. The coaches were released after treatment, according to the school district's release.

“The driver of the bus took the brunt of the impact,” Pollock said.

His legs were pinned in the bus, possibly broken, and firefighters had to cut him out. He remained conscious and alert as an ambulance took him to Lancaster General Hospital. 

Players: Eastern York junior lineman Drake Brown was one of the players on the bus.

In order to get home, Brown said the players were told to call their parents to come pick them up from the highway, where they then had to sign a release form allowing them to leave.

For most local away games, the football team travels on school buses, Brown said. However, he said, since Friday's game was more than 130 miles away, the parents organization with the team rented the team a charter bus for the long trip.

Eastern York senior running back Logan Kline wasn’t on the bus coming home from the game, instead riding home with his parents.

He said he got home from the game around 12:30 a.m. and first found out that his teammates were involved in a crash after seeing pictures and videos on the social media app Snapchat.

Kline began texting teammates and eventually heard from a few of them confirming that the team was indeed in an accident.

“I guess worried that all our kids and coaches were OK,” Kline said about his initial thoughts to hearing the news. “Like, that was my first thought. I was worried for the freshmen and the kids who have never really been on those long bus rides, and I was really worried that they would remember that and not in a good way.”

Kline says he usually travels on the team bus after away games but elected to go with his parents because it was a 2½-hour trip.

“It’s unfathomable,” he said. “To think that all those kids witnessed it and I wasn’t there with them. ... It makes me deeply sad for that family and everyone involved.”

At school: The school district will have a response team at the school Monday.

 “Although no students were physically injured during the accident, the district will have a crisis team in place on Monday at Eastern York High School for any students, parents or staff who may need assistance,” the release from the district stated.

“We thank the emergency responders and district staff for immediately responding and taking care of our students and staff.  The district will continue to cooperate with Hellam Township Police Department as they continue to investigate the accident.”

The release states the district extends its “deepest sympathy to the family of the deceased driver who collided with the bus."