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Bus crash scene of horror

UPDATE: 1:10 p.m.

Officials say there are multiple deaths in a horrific crash involving a school bus and dump truck in New Jersey.

The school bus was taking children on a field trip to a historic site when it collided with a dump truck Thursday, ripping the bus apart.

Some of the victims crawled out of the emergency exit in the back of the bus and an escape hatch on the roof.

"I heard a scraping sound and we toppled over the highway," said student Theo Ancevski, who was sitting in the fourth row of the bus and was treated at a hospital for cuts and scrapes. "A lot of people were screaming and hanging from their seatbelts."

The Morris County prosecutor's office said there were multiple fatalities but declined to say how many before their families are notified.

The front end of the red dump truck was mangled in the wreck. The truck was registered to Mendez Trucking, of Belleville.

The exact number of children and adults on the bus wasn't known, but multiple people were taken to area hospitals. Police did not immediately comment on the cause of the crash.

At least two canine units were searching the woods along the roadside Thursday afternoon, but it wasn't clear why.

Mendez trucks have been in seven crashes in the last two years, none of them fatal, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

Mendez was fined $22,850 in 2016 for violating regulations on inspections, repairs and maintenance and post-crash drug and alcohol testing, according to the FMCSA. Its trucks have racked up more than 130 violations in the last two years, including 27 for excessive weight, 17 for leaking, spilling or falling cargo and four speeding violations — three of them this year.


ORIGINAL: 10:30 a.m.

A school bus and dump truck collided on a New Jersey highway Thursday, ripping apart the bus, knocking it on its side and injuring multiple people, according to police.

The school bus was on the median of Interstate 80 in Mount Olive and the front end of the bus appeared to be crushed or ripped off. It was also sheared off its undercarriage and a piece of the front end of the bus with the steering wheel visible was lying on top of the guardrail separating the highway from the median.

A red dump truck with a mangled front end was parked along the highway nearby, about 80 kilometres west of New York.

The school bus had markings for the Paramus School District. A fifth-grade class trip from the district was scheduled for Waterloo Village, a historic site about five miles away from the crash scene. A school district official said its superintendent was preparing a statement.

"There's an incredible emergency response from throughout Morris County and by state police. It's a horrific scene," Mount Olive Mayor Rob Greenbaum told The Record.

State police said that an unknown number of children were on the bus, but they didn't know how serious the injuries are. Hackettstown Police Sgt. Darren Tynan told The Record that multiple people were taken to a hospital.

A sign outside of the East Brook Middle School in Paramus informed people to go to the auditorium for updates on the accident.

Gisela Aultmon, transportation co-ordinator for the district, said she was busy fielding calls from parents and could not answer questions from reporters.

The National Transportation Safety Board is gathering information on the crash, a spokesman said.

At least two canine units were searching the woods along the roadside Thursday afternoon, but it wasn't clear why.

Morristown Medical Center spokeswoman Elaine Andrecovich said they have received some people from the accident, but she did not have a number available and could not say how many were children.

About 10 victims were taken to St. Clare's Dover Hospital and St. Clare's Denville Hospital, according to Communications Director Patty Montgomery. She said they were being evaluated and treated, but she did not have ages or conditions.

St. Joseph's Health public relations manager Pam Garretson said two children were being evaluated in the emergency room. She did not know their conditions or ages.



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