UPDATED: 12 p.m.
By Josh Fernandez and Bonnie L. Cook
INQUIRER STAFF WRITERS
Police in Radnor Township are investigating what caused a carpool driver to veer off Conestoga Road early Monday, striking and injuring two teenagers as they waited for their school bus.
The driver, a 34-year-old Philadelphia woman whom police declined to name, lost control of her Nissan Altima as she headed westbound at 6:53 a.m.
The sedan crossed the eastbound lanes of Conestoga and hit the teens head-on, then came to rest against a home in the 600 block of Conestoga near Mill Road where one victim lives.
The teenagers, both 15-year-old students at Radnor High School, were taken by ambulance to the Radnor High School grounds, where medics transferred them to helicopters for airlifting to Philadelphia.
Police would not immediately identify the victims because they are minors, but sources said they were freshman Mary Elizabeth O'Reilly-Gindhart and sophomore Kelson D'Ambra.
O’Reilly-Gindhart was listed in stable condition Tuesday at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia recovering from contusions and bruises.
D’Ambra underwent surgery on Monday to treat a head injury and multiple fractures. On Tuesday, he was listed in critical condition at The Hospital of The University of Pennsylvania, said Radnor Township Police Sgt. Andrew Block.
The driver was taken by ambulance to Bryn Mawr Hospital, where she was treated for minor injuries. Two of her three carpool passengers also were evaluated by doctors there, but had no serious injuries, Block said.
It was just beginning to get light at 6:53 a.m. There was no debris on the roadway, which is heavily traveled during rush hour, and there were no skid marks, Block said.
“The roadway was clear, but we don’t know if there was black ice out there at the time. It may be a situation where that was contributing, but we need to let the traffic investigators do their work,” Block said.
He said investigators were combing the Nissan for defects and had checked the woman’s driving history.
“There was nothing on her record,” he said.
Two of the passengers immediately gave police a statement. The driver was expected to give police a statement as soon as she can, Block said.
Police said she expressed “grave concern” about the teens and how they were faring at the hospitals.
Caroline Cunningham, a junior at Radnor High, said that the accident was “scary, especially because it was at a bus stop, which you’d think would be a very safe place.”
Freshman Brendon Bernicker, 14, is friendly with O'Reilly-Gindhart.
“I was going to text her, along with my other friends, but we doubted she would get the text anytime soon,” Bernicker said in an interview outside the high school.
He said her friends were upset by the accident and “hoping she’d pull through.”
District spokesman Michael Petitti released a statement saying "the entire Radnor Township School District family is keeping the well-being of the two Radnor High School students struck by a vehicle this morning in our thoughts."
He said additional counselors had been made available to students.