More than two weeks after a school bus stop crash that left a Bucks County teenager dead, another teenager faces homicide by vehicle charges.
Bensalem Police announced Friday that Michael Shelly would be arraigned on homicide by vehicle, involuntary manslaughter, reckless endangerment, overtaking a school bus and related charges.
Investigators said Shelly, 18, was behind the wheel a sport utility vehicle that struck and killed Bensalem High School sophomore Minete Zeka on Dec. 17 around 6:40 a.m. as the 16-year-old tried to catch her school bus along Bensalem Boulevard.
"This child, it does not appear, was doing anything wrong,” said Bensalem Police public safety director Fred Harran last month. “She was just crossing the street.”
Police said Shelly was driving toward the bus when he struck Minete, who was walking in the crosswalk near Bridgewater Street, said police.
"One of the key basics in this particular crime is that he didn't stop for a school bus," said Harran while announcing the arrest Friday.
Shelly, an 18-year-old vo-tech student driving a 1984 Ford Bronco painted in white and blue camouflage and with lights on top, had a green light at the time. However, the school bus’ flashing lights and stop sign arm should have caused Shelly to stop, said police.
"It's a tragic case ... if he obeyed the rules of the road that morning and stopped for that school bus this young girl would have had a great Christmas, hopefully, and we would not be having a news conference announcing the arrest."
Accident investigators used a computer program to reconstruct the accident scene. Police also looked into the condition of the teen driver’s SUV and into what he was doing at the time of impact.
Police wouldn't comment about the condition of Shelly's vehicle saying that information would come out in trial.
Harran also wouldn't comment about texting while driving or other possible distractions but did say that Shelly stopped at the scene, cooperated with investigators and didn't appear to be under the influence of any substances at the time of the wreck.
"It doesn't appear that alcohol or drugs played a role in it," said Harran.
"Michael feels very bad for the death of someone who was a classmate of his," said Attorney Stanton Lacks.
Shelly was arraigned Friday afternoon and sent to county jail unable to post bail. Lacks said his client's cooperation and lack of a record should lead a judge to lowering Shelly's $500,000 bail.
"The 18-year-old will never be the same," said Harran. "He'll have to live with the fact that he took a life."