PITTSGROVE — A three-vehicle crash on Friday involving a school bus, SUV and car left two drivers dead and three people hurt, two of them students, State Police announced on Saturday.

The bus with 19 students from Olivet Elementary School on-board was traveling after-school along County Road 540 around 4 p.m., police said.

A Nissan Murano and a Volkswagen Jetta were both traveling the opposite direction on the same road, when the SUV veered into oncoming traffic and struck the bus in the eastbound lanes, according to police.

The impact sent the bus and the Nissan into the westbound lanes, where they struck the Volkswagen, sending all three vehicles off the right side of the roadway, troopers said.

The SUV driver, 70-year-old Pearl Caudill, of Pittsgrove, was pronounced dead at the scene while the school bus driver, 60-year-old Denise Powell, of Newfield, was airlifted to Cooper Hospital.

She died shortly after, police said.

On Sunday, Powell was being mourned on Facebook as a dedicated school bus driver and lunch aide, as well as a beloved mother and grandmother.

Pittsgrove three-vehicle crash (CBS Philly via Youtube)
Pittsgrove three-vehicle crash (CBS Philly via Youtube)

The driver of the Volkswagen was taken to Inspira Medical Center Vineland with moderate injuries, while two students suffered non-life-threatening injuries and were taken to a local hospital as a precaution.

The crash remained under investigation on Sunday.

Police did not disclose any further details, including what could have caused the SUV to cross into oncoming traffic.

CBS Philly was among those to show helicopter video of the crash scene from Friday afternoon, as posted to Youtube.

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