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State Police Investigate Three-Vehicle Fatal Crash Involving School Bus


The New Jersey State Police is investigating a three-vehicle crash involving a school bus that resulted in two fatalities and one moderate injury on County Road 540 in Pittsgrove Township, Salem County.

According to officials, on Friday, October 15, at approximately 4:00 p.m., an International 3000 school bus, transporting 19 students from Olivet Elementary School, was traveling eastbound on County Road 540.

A Nissan Murano and a Volkswagen Jetta were both traveling westbound on County Road 540.

Based on the preliminary investigation, the Nissan crossed the center lines in the area of milepost 28.5, entered the eastbound lanes, and struck the school bus.

According to authorities, after the impact, the school bus and the Nissan entered the westbound lanes and struck the Volkswagen causing all three vehicles to travel off the right side of the roadway.

Authorities say the driver of the Nissan, Pearl Caudill, 60, of Pittsgrove, sustained fatal injuries in the crash and was pronounced deceased at the scene.

The school bus driver, Denise Powell, 50, of Newfield, was airlifted to Cooper Hospital where she was later pronounced dead, officials say.

The driver of the Volkswagen sustained moderate injuries and was transported to Inspira Medical Center Vineland.

According to the investigation, two students were transported to an area hospital with non-life-threatening injuries for precautionary reasons.

The crash remains under investigation and there is no additional information available.