South Carolina

‘Tragic accident’: No charges in fatal crash involving SC school bus

A cross and wreath mark the spot on Lincoln Road in York where 77-year-old Carlos Madriaga was fatally struck by a school bus two weeks ago. Prosecutors announced Thursday they will not file charges against the driver.
A cross and wreath mark the spot on Lincoln Road in York where 77-year-old Carlos Madriaga was fatally struck by a school bus two weeks ago. Prosecutors announced Thursday they will not file charges against the driver. tkulmala@heraldonline.com

No charges will be filed in a fatal hit-and-run involving a York school bus that struck a pedestrian earlier this month, the 16th Circuit Solicitor’s Office announced Thursday.

The April 13 wreck killed Carlos Octavio Madriaga, 77, who was walking in the 1100 block of Lincoln Road about 8:40 a.m. when the mirror of a school bus traveling to York Comprehensive High School struck him.

Investigators determined the bus driver was unaware the side mirror had struck Madriaga, Solicitor Kevin Brackett said in a statement. Many of the students on the bus were not aware the bus had struck anything, and only one student on the bus even saw Madariaga that morning.

In order to convict a driver of failing to stop after a wreck, prosecutors would have to prove the driver knew he had struck Madriaga.

“After a careful review of all the evidence in this case, we are convinced that we could not prove that the driver was aware he struck Mr. Madriaga,” Brackett said. “This was a tragic accident.”

Investigators knew a large vehicle was involved after finding pieces of the mirror on the side of the road, school district officials have said. Police alerted school officials about 11 a.m. that day that a bus may have been involved in the hit-and-run.

The driver performed a standard “walk around” inspection after completing his route that morning and found the damage to the mirror, a school district spokesman said.

The driver, who has not been named, was taken off bus duty during the investigation, and he will not drive for the district for the rest of the school year, according to district spokesman Tim Cooper. The driver is a veteran driver for the district and does not have any prior traffic or disciplinary infractions, Cooper said.

“We appreciate the thorough investigation by the York Police Department and the 16th Judicial Circuit Solicitor’s Office,” York schools Superintendent Vernon Presser said in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with everyone involved in the incident.”

Teddy Kulmala: 803-329-4082, @teddy_kulmala

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