Hundreds of friends and family members gathered Monday to bid a painful goodbye to the 10-year-old fifth-grade twin killed when her bus collided with a dump truck en route to a class field trip in New Jersey last week.
The violent Route 80 accident killed young Miranda Faith Vargas and 51-year-old East Brook Middle School teacher Jennifer Williamson. Every other passenger on board was injured, some of them critically.
Vargas, who was a twin, was the daughter of Joevanny and Lorena Vargas, according to an obituary published by Marrocco Memorial Chapel. The funeral for the little girl, remembered as a darling child who loved to ride her bike, was private. She was later buried at George Washington Memorial Park.
A townwide wake and memorial for Vargas was held Sunday, with some of the attendees still treating their injuries they suffered in the crash.
"She was very sweet, she was nice to everyone and she was always smiling and laughing," Tiana Holeviczki, a classmate of Vargas', said at the service.
Classmates remembered Vargas as a loyal friend: Malina Oniszczik told News 4, "We know she's up in heaven and I know she would want us to be happy."
In her obituary, her parents wrote: "You have always been an angel and God now has decided to bring you home. The decision God has made is painful. We will miss you and never forget you."
Vargas and her classmates were on their way to a class trip at Waterloo Village in Stanhope at the time of Thursday's violent crash, which completely obliterated the school bus, ripping off the undercarriage with the wheels, and spewed debris over multiple lanes of the highway. Sources say the driver missed an exit and tried to make a sudden U-turn in a median when it collided with the dump truck.
East Brook Middle School was open Friday, a day after the crash, as the community grieved the deaths of Miranda Vargas Williamson. Williamson's husband, Kevin Kennedy, had released a statement saying he was "in shock, devastated and totally crushed" by the tragedy.
A funeral Mass for Williamson is scheduled for Thursday.