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Lancaster man convicted of 2017 hit-and-run crash involving school bus will serve up to 20 years in prison

LANCASTER — The Lancaster man convicted of causing and fleeing the scene of a multi-vehicle crash that tipped a school bus carrying 14 students in East Lampeter Township last year will serve up to 20 years in prison after being sentenced Friday in Lancaster County Court.

James P. Irvin III, 48, was convicted of 68 charges stemming from the incident, which occurred on May 17, 2017 along Route 30. Lancaster County Judge Howard Knisely ordered a sentence of 5 to 20 years in prison Friday, saying Irvin showed “no regard” for anyone on the road while making an illegal, high-speed pass that caused the chain-reaction crash.

One of the vehicles involved was a Lancaster Mennonite School bus, which tipped onto its side. All of the students on board and the bus driver received medical treatment for injuries sustained in the accident.

Irvin, who was driving an estimated 71 mph when he caused the crash, fled the scene in a white Chevy Malibu. He was arrested six days later.

Judge Knisely pointed to Irvin’s poor driving record since 1988, and scolded Irvin for driving without a license since 2006 — driving 400 miles a week in recent years.

As part of sentence, Irvin is prohibited from driving during the period of supervision.

Parents of the two children most seriously injured expressed forgiveness for Irvin at Friday’s hearing – one father offered to visit Irvin in prison to discuss the grace of God.

Irvin “must seek forgiveness to get it,” Don Cairns said, after describing the fractured vertebrae and other injuries his son sustained.

Sheri Weaver, mother of the 6-year-old boy most seriously hurt in the crash, said her son has taken steps in recovery, but she must apply lotion daily to the boy’s many scars.

When people see the boy’s apparent scar on his face, “the bubbly extrovert” becomes shy, Sheri Weaver said.

“We don’t hate him,” Sheri Weaver said of Irvin. “We will pray for him.”

Irvin offered an apology Friday, saying, “I wasn’t raised to end up here.”

“I know I made a lot of mistakes,” he added. “I really don’t have any excuse.”