A York school bus taking students to classes Wednesday morning fatally struck a 77-year-old man who was walking in the road, according to police.
Carlos Octavio Madriaga, 77, was hit by a mirror on the side opposite the bus driver in the 100 block of Lincoln Road. Madriaga was found lying in a ditch when first responders arrived, York Police Chief Andy Robinson said at a news conference Wednesday afternoon. The victim later died.
The bus had students on it and was en route to York Comprehensive High School when the fatal collision happened at about 8:40 a.m., Robinson said. The bus continued on to the school.
Investigators are interviewing students who were on the bus to determine if the driver was aware he had struck Madriaga, Robinson said. He added that York school district officials are cooperating with law enforcement.
“It was a very unfortunate incident that occurred,” York schools Superintendent Vernon Prosser said. “Our prayers and thoughts are with everyone involved in this incident.”
Prosser was unsure how long the driver has been with the school district. The driver, who has not been named, will not be on bus duty during the investigation.
The police chief said investigators are trying to determine if the driver had knowledge of the hit before determining any possible charges.
Investigators knew a large vehicle was involved after finding pieces of the mirror on the side of the road. Police alerted school officials about 11 a.m. that a bus may have been involved in the hit-and-run, said Tim Cooper, a school district spokesman.
“They found glass on the side of the road and an injury to the man’s head, so they could estimate the height,” Cooper said. “They also had time of day, so they knew who might be driving in that area at that time.”
Cooper said the bus driver performed a standard post-route “walk around” of the bus and reported damage after finishing his route Wednesday morning.
District officials did not send out a district-wide message about the collision Wednesday, but Cooper said parents of the students on the bus were notified that their children would need to be interviewed by investigators. Those interviews were conducted at the high school by the school resource officer, who is a York police officer, and another investigator from the department.
The crash happened on Lincoln Road just a few yards from the North Congress Street intersection. The speed limit in that area is 35 mph. There are no sidewalks on the portion of Lincoln Road where the collision happened.
The S.C. Highway Patrol’s Multidisciplinary Accident Investigation Team is investigating.
The Herald’s Bristow Marchant contributed.