6-year-old child in wheelchair dies after school bus ride in New Jersey

WABC logo
Thursday, July 20, 2023
6-year-old child in wheelchair dies after school bus ride in NJ
Bus monitor Amanda Davila, 27, was charged with manslaughter after the child with special needs died on the Franklin Township bus. Anthony Johnson has the details.

FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP, New Jersey (WABC) -- A woman is facing charges after a 6-year-old child in a wheelchair died following a school bus ride in New Jersey on Monday morning.

Prosecutors say she was suffocated by the harness that secured her chair onboard and the bus monitor who was hired to help protect her is now facing charges.

Amanda Davila, 27, was charged with manslaughter and endangering the welfare of a child in connection to the death of Fajr Williams.

The child with special needs was attending an extended school program at the Claremont School in Franklin Township when she was picked up Monday morning.

Police say the bus hit a series of bumps on the road, causing Williams to slump in her wheelchair. The four-point harness that secured her to the chair ended up blocking her airway.

The child arrived at the school unresponsive and first responders administered CPR and took the child to the hospital where the child was later pronounced dead.

Davila was seated at the front of the bus for the ride and officials say she was on her phone and wearing earbuds in both ears. Prosecutors say that is a violation of policy and procedure.

"She did not deserve this, to be taken away from us in such a way that had nothing to do with her condition," said her mother Namjah Nash.

Williams was diagnosed with a rare chromosome disability called Emanuel Syndrome called when she was 3 months old. She went through multiple surgeries and met every challenge with dignitary and a smile.

"My daughter, she can't speak, she's helpless, she can't even take the harness off, she can't take the seat belt off, the only thing she can do is move her arms," her father Wali Williams said.

The 6-year-old was nonverbal but made sounds. No one saw her slump in her wheelchair during the ride.

The bus company, Montauk Transit Services, used a new driver and monitor for the extended summer program.

Davila was arrested Wednesday and taken to the Somerset County Jail.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Somerset County Prosecutor's Office Major Crimes Unit at 908-231-7100 or the Franklin Township Police Department at 732-873-5533 or via the STOPit app.

ALSO READ | Lawsuit: Hospital authorized organs harvested from unidentified, missing woman

A man is suing New York City Health and Hospitals for authorizing his deceased mother's organs to be donated without consent. Kristin Thorne has the story.


* Get Eyewitness News Delivered

* More New Jersey news

* Send us a news tip

* Download the abc7NY app for breaking news alerts

* Follow us on YouTube

Submit a tip or story idea to Eyewitness News

Have a breaking news tip or an idea for a story we should cover? Send it to Eyewitness News using the form below. If attaching a video or photo, terms of use apply.