New Jersey State Police say that a preliminary investigation showed that one of the rear wheels of a school bus became detached during a crash that landed nearly three dozen students in the hospital with minor injuries.
The bus crashed near mile-marker 34 of the Garden State Parkway northbound around 3:30 p.m. Monday. It was carrying students from Charter Tech in Somers Point, N.J.
Members of the State Police Commercial Vehicle Inspection Team were at the scene investigating the cause of the crash. State Police say that a preliminary investigation revealed that one of the rear wheels detached but the exact cause of the crash still wasn't clear.
Tom Duggan, the owner of Safety Bus, says it's still unclear what caused the crash. He did however confirm to NBC10 a New Jersey Motor Vehicle report that the bus recently needed re-inspected after an earlier annual inspection showed some problems that needed corrected.
The NBC10 Investigators uncovered that the bus, which is owned by the Safety Bus of Absecon, failed a state inspection last month.
Bus No. 20057 failed inspection on Oct. 18 but later passed on re-examination, according to a report on N.J.’s Motor Vehicle Commission’s School Bus Inspection Reporting System. The bus failed requirements for a seat, a dome light, side walls, light clearance and condition of the tires, according to the state.
New Jersey has some of the most stringent school bus standards in the country including requiring seat belts on larger buses.
That hasn’t stopped a recent rash of school bus accidents in the Garden State.
We've had several school bus accidents in the area in the last two months. Most have happened in New Jersey, which has some of the strictest school bus safety standards in the country.
- Feb 13: Triplet Dies in Chesterfield, N.J. School Bus Accident
- Feb. 21: School Bus Accid. in Upper Deerfield Twp., N.J.
- Feb. 27: Driver, Student Hurt in Burlington County School Bus Accid.
- March 1: Bus Driver Crashes 3 Times in 1 Day in Egg Harbor Twp., N.J.
- March 21: School Bus Accid. in National Park, N.J.
- March 26: 14 Minor Injuries in Vineland, N.J. School Bus Accid.
- March 26: Galloway Twp., N.J. School Bus Accid.
- April 5: Pickup Truck Driver Dies After Crash With Bus in Toms River
Despite crashes sometimes happening, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that school buses are still “the safest mode of transportation for getting children back and forth to school.”