A 19-year-old Milton man was jailed Oct. 30 after police say he struck a motorcyclist and a school bus while talking on the phone and driving under the influence – all before 7 a.m.
Cave Neck Road resident J.R. Clark was home when he saw his lights flicker. On his scanner, the Milton firefighter heard that an accident had occurred 100 yards from his home. Clark said he and his son, Jay, hopped in the truck and drove to the scene where a 2000 Ford Taurus driven by Marcos D. Perez-Matias, 19, of Milton had crashed into a motorcyclist, struck a school bus and then slammed into a utility pole.
“The guy's really lucky he didn't get the shock of his life,” Clark said. Live electric wires from the utility pole were draped over Perez-Matias's car, Clark said.
As the Clarks arrived at the scene, J.R. said, Perez-Matias was walking toward them along the roadway.
“You could tell he had been in an accident,” he said.
At first, Perez-Matias tried to keep walking, but father and son put a stop to that notion.
“I grabbed him by the shirt, and he got the message,” J. R. Clark said. “Police showed up after that.”
Master Cpl. Gary Fournier of the Delaware State Police commended the Clarks for their help.
“Without their involvement, he may have eluded capture,” he said.
The accident happened at 6:50 a.m. Oct. 30 on Cave Neck Road east of Diamond Farm Road.
Thomas P. Pavlic, 48, was riding a 1999 Kawasaki eastbound on Cave Neck Road when he slowed for a stopped bus.
The bus was picking up a passenger; its red lights were flashing and a stop sign displayed. Perez-Matias struck the motorcycle from behind, ejecting Pavlic onto the south side of the road, Fournier said.
Perez-Matias kept going and struck the left rear of the school bus before driving off the north side of the road and into a utility pole, Fournier said.
Perez-Matias was taken to Troop 7 and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, first-degree vehicular assault, driving without a valid license, passing a stopped school bus, leaving the scene of a personal injury crash and operating a vehicle while using an electronic device. He was committed to Sussex Correctional Institution in default of $4,200 cash bail.
Fournier said Perez-Matias told police he was talking on the phone before the crash; he refused medical treatment at the crash scene.
Pavlic was wearing a helmet; emergency medical services took him to Beebe Healthcare where he is in serious condition with nonlife-threatening injuries, Fournier said.
Bonnie E. Mills, 67, of Lincoln was the driver of the Cape Henlopen School District bus. She and three boys ages 7 to 10 years old were not injured. The boys went to school following the accident, Fournier said.
Clark said there was rear panel damage to the bus, which was towed away from the crash scene.
Cape Henlopen School District Director of Administrative Services Brian Bassett said the following emergency plan is used when there is a bus accident:
Bus driver contacts 911 and then the transportation supervisor and bus contractor
Bus driver assesses the situation and performs emergency evacuation procedures if necessary; staff remains with students at all times
Transportation supervisor contacts the superintendent and building principal; supervisor or designee will go the accident site as will building administration if possible
Only the EMT will release students to the transportation supervisor to proceed to school; EMT will release students to ambulance to be transported to hospital if necessary
Transportation supervisor or building administrator will designate a school staff representative to go to any medical treatment facility to which an injured student has been taken to assist parents and provide support to students, as appropriate
If students are not taken to the hospital, they will be met by the school nurse upon arriving to school; school staff will contact parents of students who were on the school bus
A bus accident report will be sent to the superintendent and Ron Love, DOE Transportation Department