The National Transportation Safety Board released new details about a school bus accident that left one girl dead and injured 17 children.
The violent crash happened at Bordentown-Chesterfield Road (County Route 528) and Old York Road in Chesterfield, N.J. a little before 8:20 a.m. on Feb. 16, according to authorities. Police say a dump truck was traveling on Route 528, which has a flashing yellow light at the intersection.
Meanwhile, a school bus with students heading to Chesterfield Elementary School, was traveling on Old York Road, which has a stop sign and a flashing red light at the intersection.
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Police say the dump truck somehow hit the rear end of the bus on the driver’s side, causing the bus to spin around and slam into a traffic light pole.
Isabelle Tezsla, the 11-year-old daughter of New Jersey State Trooper, Sgt. Anthony Tezsla, died in the crash. Her two 11-year-old sisters were among the injured children.
The NTSB held a press conference Friday at 11 a.m. at the Municipal Building Court Room in Chesterfield. During the meeting, the NTSB confirmed the 66-year-old school bus driver involved in the crash had received his commercial license only three weeks before the accident. They also say he had driven his particular route for only nine days before the crash occurred.
The bus driver, who has a clean driving record, told the NTSB that as he was coming up the intersection, he had to pull up slightly to see if there was traffic due to a line-of-sight issue. He claims he never saw the dump truck coming.
Last week the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission revealed the 38-year-old dump truck driver had his license suspended for reckless driving back in 2003. He was also ticketed for speeding in Virginia back in 1997, according to investigators. Despite this, the driver has been in good standing since the reinstatement of his license back in February of 2004. The truck driver told the NTSB that he was traveling the 45 miles per hour speed limit and applied the brakes when he saw the bus coming.
The truck was carrying asphalt-type material and was five percent over the weight limit which appears to be allowable in New Jersey, according to the NTSB. The NTSB inspected the truck after the crash and all major components of the vehicle passed inspection. The brake system is still being investigated.
The NTSB also stated there would be changes to the intersection that could start as early as Friday. They claim there would be signage changes and that something would possibly be done about the trees and line-of-sight issue.