This week, approximately 150 New Jersey high school students were on a field trip when they were involved in a serious bus accident. According to reports, the brakes of one of the four buses carrying the students allegedly failed, causing two buses to collide. One of the bus drivers and ten students suffered injuries requiring them to be taken to area hospitals.
The 10th, 11th and 12th grade students from Montclair High School were en route to YMCA Camp Mason in Hardwick for a day of team-building and discussion of the recent midterm election when a bus took a wrong turn. According to officials, the bus was headed down a steep hill when the brakes failed, causing it to crash into the back of another school bus and go off the road.
The ten injured students and driver of the bus that was hit were taken by ambulance to Newton Memorial Hospital and Hackettstown Regional Medical Center. Fortunately, none suffered serious injuries, with the worst being a cut requiring stitches. Montclair principal James Earle says the school is pleased with that outcome. "For the most part, we were really blessed and lucky that our students are home and safe," he said.
The four buses were chartered by the school district from Eagle Rock Bus Company in West Orange. According to dispatcher Juan Soto, the bus drivers are required to do an inspection before every bus trip, and the vehicles are also inspected by the New Jersey Department of Transportation every six months. Soto says that state officials have impounded the bus at issue in the accident, and will examine it to determine whether the brakes did, in fact, fail. The buses were all equipped with seat belts, but it is unknown whether any of the injured students were wearing them at the time of the accident.
Source: The Star-Ledger, "Two-bus-crash in Warren County sends 10 students, driver to hospital", Nic Corbett, 4 November 2010