High school students rattled after fatal charter bus crash in Baltimore County

The Baltimore Sun

A group of Catholic school students have rejoined their classmates on a spiritual retreat Thursday, a day after their charter bus was involved in a crash that left one person dead.

Police said 19-year-old Joel William Drawbaugh of Havre de Grace died Wednesday after his Infiniti collided with the bus on Brick Store and Falls roads, close to the Carroll County line near Prettyboy Reservoir.

According to police, the charter bus was carrying 41 senior students from St. Vincent Pallotti High School in Laurel on their way to a retreat at River Valley Ranch in Manchester.

Police are investigating the cause of the crash and anticipate publishing a report on the incident in coming weeks.

Members of Drawbaugh’s family did not respond to requests for comment Thursday.

Seven of the Pallotti students were taken to an area hospital with minor injuries following the crash, said Principal Jeff Palumbo. All were later released and rejoined classmates at the retreat, where school counselors and spiritual ministers were present to help the students process the experience.

“A lot of the kids were pretty shaken up and saw a lot of the things that happened,” Palumbo said Thursday. “A lot of the parents came up last night just to see if the kids were OK. We have a lot of people here to help.”

During the retreat, students are not typically permitted to have cellphones. However administrators gave the teens the opportunity to call home and talk to parents Wednesday evening.

The school sponsors the vocational retreat every year to help members of the senior class consider what directions to take in life after high school. Drawbaugh’s death was a shock to the teens as they considered their futures, Palumbo said.

“He was the age of our seniors, just about,” Palumbo said. “They’re all very affected by that. Our hearts go out to his family.”

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