On May 17th just after 10:30 a.m., a school bus filled with 38 fifth graders and 7 adults collided with a dump truck, killing a teacher and a student aboard the school bus and injuring dozens more.
The crash occurred on the westbound side of Interstate 80 in Mount Olive, just past the Waterloo Village Exit (Exit 25), where the bus was headed for a field trip.
The exact causes of the crash remain unclear and are the subject of an ongoing investigation by local authorities, as well as the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).
All lanes of I-80 were closed for hours as authorities investigated the scene and cleared the wreckage. Upon hearing about the accident, two other school buses on the same Waterloo Village field trip returned safely to East Brook Middle School in Paramus.
More Details about the Horrific Bus Wreck
While many wait for answers about how this fatal crash happened, the tragedy of the aftermath is all too apparent, grim and chilling:
- The accident ripped the bus in two – The top portion of the bus was sheared off of the undercarriage while the chassis was torn away from the passenger area. The mangled chassis and undercarriage landed on the guardrail while the rest of the bus ended up on a grassy median. The dump truck was also mangled, though not torn apart.
- No one involved in this deadly school bus accident escaped injury – The 43 people aboard the bus who survived the accident reportedly suffered varying degrees of injuries, and all were transported to nearby hospitals, with at least 20 being transported to a Level 1 Trauma ward. The driver of the dump truck reportedly survived the crash and is presumed to have sought medical treatment at a nearby hospital.
Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi, P.C. extends the deepest condolences to the victims of this terrible crash, their families and the community.
Two professional drivers failed to follow Federal highway safety rules and regulations, resulting in a parent’s worst nightmare, and they must be held accountable.
– Attorney Chris Digirolamo, Managing Partner at Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi, P.C.
Mendez Trucking, LLC Owned the Dump Truck, Has History of Crashes
The red dump truck involved in this deadly school bus wreck was one of 33 trucks registered to Mendez Trucking, LLC, a Belleville-based motor carrier (MC # 740481).
According to federal safety records maintained by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), commercial trucks registered to Mendez Trucking have been in 7 accidents since May 2016 (none of which were deadly).
Additionally, over the past two years, 80 out of 211 inspections of Mendez Trucking’s vehicles resulted in out-of-service orders due to various violations. This puts Mendez Trucking well above the national out-of-service average by nearly 18 percent.
Mendez Trucking has yet to issue a formal statement regarding the bus accident.
As authorities to continue to search for answers, the attorneys at Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi, P.C. want all crash victims to know that they are not alone. We are here for them, ready to offer support, compassion and exceptional legal advocacy that can help them obtain the financial recovery and justice they deserve. We invite anyone who has been hurt in a bus accident, a truck wreck or any type of motor vehicle crash to contact us for free, confidential answers about their legal options.