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Cops: Truck driver didn’t brake before fatal Derry Township school bus crash

August 19, 2018

An Adams County man was driving at least 34 mph -- below the posted speed limit -- on Route 22 in Derry Township last year when his truck slammed into the back of a school bus that was stopping to pick up a student, killing the driver, according to state police.

Wesley White, 60, of New Oxford was arraigned Wednesday and is free on $50,000 unsecured bond.

He was driving a tri-axle truck hauling stone westbound for an area company on Route 22 in Derry Township on April 10, 2017, when his vehicle rear-ended the bus being driven by Deborah Bopp, 54, of Blairsville, police said. Bopp was driving 4 mph with the bus lights flashing at 7:21 a.m. to pick up a Derry Area High School student when the crash happened, according to court documents.

“Witnesses stated that they did not see brake lights activated on the tri-axle dump truck at any time prior to its initial impact with the school bus,” Trooper Jeffrey Walton reported.

White has since resigned from P&B Transportation, located in Washington Township, according to officials there. He was treated at a Pittsburgh hospital for injuries from the crash.

Bopp drove for Smith Bus Co. in Burrell Township, Indiana County, which has a contract with the Derry school district. She was wearing a seat belt but was still ejected, police said. She died at the scene. The bus was propelled forward at 30 mph immediately after the collision, police said. No students were aboard.

The speed limit on that section of Route 22 is 55 mph.

White told troopers that he did not remember anything after having a coughing spell about two miles before the crash. He said he was not using a cellphone, according to court records. He did not have an attorney listed in online court records and a phone number could not be located.

“White related that he did not believe he had any type of medical emergency prior to the crash and did not have any head injuries as a result of the crash,” Walton reported.

A preliminary hearing is set for Wednesday. White was charged last month with homicide by vehicle and summary vehicle code violations.