Many dead after school bus collision
Field trip turns deadly after bus collides with truck
A school bus taking children on a field trip to a New Jersey historic site collided with a dump truck Thursday, ripping the bus apart, knocking it on its side and killing multiple people, officials said.
The front end of the school bus appeared to be ripped off as it sat on the median of Interstate 80 in Mount Olive. It was also sheared off its undercarriage and a piece of the front end of the bus with the steering wheel visible was lying on top of the guardrail separating the highway from the median.
The Morris County prosecutor’s office said that there were multiple fatalities in the crash, but it declined to say how many or reveal the victims’ identities before their families are notified.
A red dump truck with a mangled front end was parked along the highway nearby, about 50 miles (80 kilometres) west of New York. The truck was registered to Mendez Trucking, of Belleville, and had “In God We Trust” emblazoned on the back of it.
“It’s a horrific scene,” Mount Olive Mayor Rob Greenbaum told The Record.
Police did not immediately comment on the cause of the crash. State police said that an unknown number of children were on the bus, but they didn’t know how serious the injuries are. Hackettstown Police Sgt. Darren Tynan told The Record that multiple people were taken to hospital.
At least two canine units were searching the woods along the roadside Thursday afternoon, but it wasn’t clear why.
“Our hearts are broken by today’s tragedy,” Democratic New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said in a tweet.
Paramus Public Schools said that the bus was taking students from East Brook Middle School to Waterloo Village, which is about five miles from the crash scene. Students on two other buses on the field trip returned to the school about 50 miles (80 kilometres) from the crash site and were reunited with their parents, said Paramus police Commissioner Holly Tedesco.
Mendez Trucking has about 40 drivers and trucks, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The company was fined $22,850 in 2016 for violating regulations on inspections, repairs and maintenance and post-crash drug and alcohol testing, according to the FMCSA.
Mendez trucks have racked up more than 130 violations in the last two years, according to FMCSA, including 27 for excessive weight, 17 for leaking, spilling or falling cargo and four speeding violations — three of them this year.
Emergency personnel examine a school bus after it collided with a dump truck on Interstate 80 in Mount Olive, N.J. on Thursday.