GREENSBURG — A Westmoreland County motorist was placed on up to five years of probation after reaching a plea-bargained verdict in the traffic death of a school bus driver on Route 22.
Wesley White, of Vandergrift, pleaded guilty to one count of vehicular homicide in the April 10, 2017, death of Deborah Bopp, of Blairsville, the driver of a Derry Area School District bus during the morning rounds on the highway just west of Blairsville.
State police charged that White’s tri-axle dump truck carrying a load of stones hit the rear of the school bus in the westbound lane as Bopp, 54, slowed to pick up a student.
The force of the impact spun the bus around and ejected Bopp, although she was using a seat belt, investigators said.
The school bus came to rest facing east atop the concrete medial barrier. The truck veered off the highway and plowed into a model home on the sales lot at Long’s Homes.
According to the criminal charges, White told police that he suffered a fit of coughing as he drove by Jonnet Lane and recalled nothing more until his truck hit the bus 1.8 miles farther down the road.
White, 62, was ordered by Westmoreland County Judge Christopher Feliciani to serve one to five years of “intensive supervision” with 18 months of electronic home monitoring, to undergo a three-year suspension of his driver’s license, and to pay restitution of $2,509 to the Westmoreland County coroner’s office.
The online court record shows the Westmoreland County Court system accumulated $10,120.88 in costs and fees in the prosecution of the case. The sentencing order cited online does not require White to pay the court costs.
Homicide by vehicle is a third-degree felony, usually punishable by up to seven years in prison. Five summary traffic citations were dismissed as a part of the plea deal, court records show.
The sentence was handed down May 10.