What to Know
- Photos obtained by News 4 shows a heavily damaged bus on its side in the median, surrounded by dozens of emergency vehicles
- The front of the bus is barely recognizable, a mangled chunk of broken-apart machinery spread from the highway shoulder through the median
- The undercarriage, the bus wheels still attached, lays perpendicular to the overturned bus, stretching out over multiple lanes of Route 80
A student and adult chaperone are dead after a full-size school bus collided with a dump truck on a major New Jersey highway Thursday, a violent accident that ripped the undercarriage completely off the bus and left it demolished on its side in the median, sources with knowledge of the investigation tell News 4.
Many injuries have been reported. An unknown number of middle school students were on board the school bus at the time of the 10:20 a.m. crash on Route 80 near exit 25 in Mount Olive Township, according to the New Jersey State Police.
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An official tells News 4 the bus came from East Brook Middle School in Paramus, a public school serving roughly 650 students in grades 5-8. The principal’s office hung up the phone when News 4 called seeking comment. The school’s calendar shows a scheduled fifth-grade class trip to Waterloo Village in Stanhope.
No additional details on the children or the nature of the injuries were available. Morristown Medical Center confirmed it was receiving patients but a spokesperson did not know how many were expected to arrive at the hospital. Saint Clare’s Denville Hospital and Dover Hospital emergency departments have received 10 patients, a spokesperson said, though there was no immediate information on the extent of their injuries or their ages.
Photos obtained by News 4 shows the heavily damaged bus on its side in the median, surrounded by dozens of emergency and law enforcement vehicles. The front of it is barely recognizable, a mangled chunk of broken-apart machinery spread from the highway shoulder lane through the guardrail and into the grassy median, where police and first responders are seen tending to stunned children. The undercarriage, the bus wheels still attached, lays perpendicular to the overturned bus, stretching out over multiple lanes of the highway.
Manuel Absalon, a tourist from Mexico who was traveling on a New York City-bound bus from Toronto on Route 80, says he didn’t see the actual collision but was struck by the aftermath.
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“From what I saw, the red truck was destroyed, but the bus appeared worse,” the 22-year-old Absalon said. “It looked like it was broken in half.”
The side of the bus says Paramus Board of Education, according to Mount Olive Township Mayor Rob Greenbaum. The Paramus transportation office declined to share information with News 4, calling the situation “upsetting.” The school district’s office said the superintendent is working on a statement.
Gov. Murphy has also been briefed on the situation, and the National Transportation Safety Board says it is gathering information on the crash.
Route 80 is closed in both directions in the area, with westbound traffic diverted at exit 26. Expect heavy traffic and delays on Route 46, Mount Olive police say.
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