Police: Bus driver electrocuted despite warning from passing motorist
A bus driver with hearing problems might not have heard another motorist’s shouted warnings Friday before he got out of his wrecked school bus on a rural Beaver County road and was electrocuted, an official said.
Timothy VanKirk, 60, of Ellwood City died instantly from the live high-voltage electrical wires that were on the ground outside the bus that had crashed around 2:45 p.m. Friday, according to police Chief Jeff Becze. The accident happened at Foster and Mercer roads in North Sewickley Township.
Becze said VanKirk, a driver for First Student bus company, which has a contract with the Riverside School District, was going over his route for a last time before school starts on Monday when the bus sheared a utility pole.
VanKirk was alone in the bus. Becze said he has not determined what caused the wreck.
“There were no skid marks or anything like that, so I don’t know how that happened, whether he looked down or had a medical emergency of some kind,” the chief said.
Live wires were lying on top of the school bus and VanKirk apparently moved the bus, knocking them to the ground, according to an unidentified witness.
“The witness was yelling at the driver to stay in the bus, but he didn’t listen,” Becze said. “The very sad part of this is, after talking to his wife, he had hearing issues, and it’s possible that could have been an issue in this.”
Becze said the ground was charged with electricity and VanKirk was died instantly when he stepped out of the bus.
The electrocution caused the bus to catch fire.
Bob Bauder is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Bob at 412-765-2312, [email protected] or via Twitter .