School bus overturns on I-78 ramp

October 20, 2008 5:13:38 PM PDT
A school bus packed with children on a field trip overturned on an Interstate 78 ramp in Newark Monday afternoon. The bus flipped while negotiating a curve in the eastbound lanes, on the Exit 57 ramp to Routes 1/9, just before 2:15 p.m.

Newark police say the bus was carrying 31 elementary students and four adults at the time of the crash. They say half of the children were reporting minor injuries.

The overturned bus was one of four buses from the Villani Bus Company returning from a day trip at Melick's Town Farm in Oldwick in Hunterdon County, presumably to go apple picking.

At the time of the accident the buses were going back to Proceed Incorparted in Elizabeth which has locations at 1126 Dickerson Street and 269 Second Street.

No other vehicles were involved. Authorities said they were still trying to determine what happened.

Carlos Ramos, 31, of Elizabeth, was with his 3½-year old daughter, Yasmin, on one of other buses.

"It seemed like the driver took the curve a little too tight, not fast, but tight, and probably she hit the corner, she was about to flip and it seemed she overcompensated when she was already flipping," the elder Ramos said.

He said it appeared the disabled bus was spilling gas, so parents helped all the kids off the bus and got them as far away as possible.

"It was really scary, the kids had dirt and blood on their faces, it looked really bad," he said. "Actually, the grown-ups were the ones running around, screaming and panicking, more than the kids."

Witnesses said some of the preschoolers were thrown against the side of the bus that struck the pavement. Other children were hanging from their seatbelts with the bus on its side.

Several parents said they had gone to the school to pick up their children from the field trip and were surprised they hadn't arrived at the scheduled time. When told about the accident, they rushed to the scene.

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