Police: NJ driver shot at cars before chase, crash into school bus with kids
🔴 NJ school bus with young kids struck by speeding car
🔴 Police say man shot at cars before NJ, PA chase
🔴 NJ students reunited with "hero" bus driver
PHILLIPSBURG — A scary crash involving a school bus with young students and a speeding car this week unfolded after the driver of the car allegedly fired shots, sparking a police chase.
On Friday, the Warren County Prosecutor’s Office shared details about the harrowing situation, which started in New Jersey, crossed into Pennsylvania and then ended back in New Jersey with the crash on Route 22 east in Phillipsburg.
Children on the bus suffered minor injuries, while the car’s driver was airlifted to Pennsylvania with major injuries.
He has been identified as 28-year-old Brett M. Wyatt, Jr., of Phillipsburg, who had three firearms and a substantial amount of ammunition in his vehicle, according to Warren County Prosecutor James Pfeiffer.
Wyatt remained hospitalized and the filing of criminal charges were pending, Pfeiffer said.
Shots fired at NJ cars
On Tuesday around 2:45 p.m., police in Lopatcong were called about a man who had allegedly fired gunshots at a parked truck, with a caller’s description of the shooter in a yellow hatchback sedan.
Officers responded to the area of Uniontown Road, where they found the passenger side window and tires of the truck riddled by gunfire.
Police then saw the car as described, traveling west on Route 57 near the intersection with Route 519.
Investigators found that Wyatt had driven toward a construction zone along the highway near Stryker’s Road. While stopped in traffic, police said he fired shots at two nearby cars, with motorists in them.
The driver of a Tesla — which took three shots to the passenger side — was unharmed, according to police, as was the driver of a Chevy sedan that took a shot to the driver’s side door, just above the handle.
Wyatt then drove west from Rt. 57 onto Rt. 22, and exited onto South Fifth Street, but was greeted by a Lopatcong police patrol car.
Officials said the yellow hatchback then tore through a gas station and got back onto Rt. 22 west, leading police on a high-speed chase as it veered into oncoming traffic and back into the westbound lane, continuing into Pennsylvania.
Wyatt hit speeds of 100 miles an hour, passing other cars on the shoulder, according to police.
Police eventually stopped pursuing him due to traffic, just before 3 p.m., while sending out an alert to other law enforcement for the sedan and partial license plate information.
PA Police try to stop Wyatt’s car
Around 3:15 p.m., Pennsylvania state police spotted what appeared to be Wyatt’s vehicle, exiting Rt. 22 at Schoenersville Road, in Bethlehem.
A trooper tried to pull over the sedan, but officials said it took off much like before, onto Rt. 22 east, reaching 100 mph and weaving around other cars in traffic.
Wyatt strikes Phillipsburg school bus
With Pennsylvania State Police in pursuit, the yellow hatchback sped back into New Jersey, according to officials.
A bus of about 21 first- and second-graders had left Phillipsburg Primary School and was on Rt. 22, according to Phillipsburg school officials and police, when Wyatt’s car lost control on the highway’s curve near the Phillipsburg Post Office.
The car smacked into the bus, which then struck a guardrail, according to witnesses who spoke with 69News WFMZ-TV.
The same WFMZ-TV report described how police descended on the yellow hatchback, with guns drawn.
Wyatt was airlifted from the scene while the young students were evaluated and treated for minor injuries.
Police then recovered three guns from the wrecked car — a 9mm Glock handgun, a 10mm Glock handgun, and a Kel-Tec 9mm carbine rifle.
Wyatt also had “hundreds rounds of ammunition” for the firearms, the prosecutor said.
Neither of the 9mm guns were loaded, while the 10mm had apparently jammed with a round stuck in it, according to police.
A “quantity of a suspicious substance” was also recovered from the car and was being tested by New Jersey State Police, as of Friday.
NJ students reunited with ‘hero’ bus driver
All 21 of the young students and the bus driver managed to escape serious injury, according to Phillipsburg School District Superintendent Gregory Troxell in a Facebook post.
“As one can imagine, many of the students are fearful to get back on their bus,” Troxell said in his Facebook post.
So, service provider, B&K Dalrymple Bus Company, had their same bus driver arrive during the Thursday school day for a less pressured return to the bus.
The mascot of Phillipsburg High School, “Suzy Stateliner,” joined the outing.
Wawa provided some gifts for the children and each student was given a Hess Truck by the Phillipsburg Police Department.
“We use the word ‘community’ a lot in Phillipsburg. The word, itself, conveys a sense of togetherness and positivity,” Troxell continued in his social media post.
“After the accident on Tuesday, the entire Phillipsburg Community really came together in a positive way for all those affected by this incident.”
He added he “could not be more thankful and appreciative” for all the help and support that local residents have shown.
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