The woman driving a school bus that struck and killed a 78-year-old Pottstown woman walking across a street in her hometown in September has been arrested and charged with involuntary manslaughter and careless driving for the accidental death, according to a media release from Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman and Lower Pottsgrove Police Chief Michael Foltz.
Donna Engler was driving a school bus at the intersection of Mervine Street and Charlotte Street in Pottstown on the morning of Sept. 9 when Shirley Wilhelm, 78, was crossing Mervine Street when Wilhelm had the right of way.
Engler made a right turn and the bus hit and ran over Wilhelm, who died at the scene of the accident.
After a careful crash reconstruction it was decided that nothing had obstructed Engler’s view of Wilhelm walking across the street; because the victim had the right of way to cross and because the defendant should have seen Wilhelm, it was decided that the defendant “had driven in a careless, reckless and grossly negligent manner, which constitutes the crime of involuntary manslaughter,” according to the release.
According to court documents, Engler is a Perkiomenville resident.
Engler turned herself in to authorities and was arraigned by Magisterial District Judge Edward Kropp, Sr. on Friday. Her bail was set at $25,000 and she was released under the condition that she will not drive a school bus. Engler waived her preliminary hearing, and the case will be sent to the Court of Common Pleas for disposition.
Her formal arraignment is scheduled for Dec. 4, according to court documents. Assistant District Attorney Nick Reifsnyder will prosecute her case.