Social studies teacher is one of two victims in New Jersey bus crash

by 18/05/2018 01:47:00 0 comments 1 Views
  • Jennifer Williamson, 51, has been identified as the adult who was killed when the bus collided with dump truck
  • Morrison was a teacher for more than 20 years who grew up on a block not far from the school in Paramus 
  • The crash happened on I-80 in Mount Olive Township in New Jersey at 10.22am on Thursday morning
  • A source at the scene said the other victim is a young girl who suffered blunt force trauma to the head  
  • There were 38 students and seven adults on board the bus and 43 people were sent to the hospital    
  • The school had a day trip for 5th graders, who are aged 10 to 11, to Waterloo Village scheduled for the day 
  • The truck belongs to Mendez Trucking which is based in Belleville and has a history of traffic accidents  

By Anneta Konstantinides and Jennifer Smith For Dailymail.com

Published: 00:03 EDT, 18 May 2018 | Updated: 01:47 EDT, 18 May 2018

A popular middle school teacher was one of two victims who was killed in a horrific school bus crash that injured 43 people in New Jersey on Thursday morning.  

Jennifer Williamson, 51, has been identified as the adult who was killed when a bus full of fifth graders from East Brook Middle School in Paramus collided with a red dump truck on I-80 near Mount Olive Township.

There were 38 students, all aged between 10 and 11, and seven adults on board for a school trip. A student was also killed in the crash. 

The name of the student who was killed has not been released but one source at the scene told the Times that the victim is a young girl who died from blunt force trauma. 

Jennifer Williamson, 51, has been identified as the adult who was killed when a bus full of fifth graders from East Brook Middle School in Paramus, New Jersey collided with a red dump truck on I-80 near Mount Olive Township on Thursday morning
Jennifer Williamson, 51, has been identified as the adult who was killed when a bus full of fifth graders from East Brook Middle School in Paramus, New Jersey collided with a red dump truck on I-80 near Mount Olive Township on Thursday morning

Jennifer Williamson, 51, has been identified as the adult who was killed when a bus full of fifth graders from East Brook Middle School in Paramus, New Jersey collided with a red dump truck on I-80 near Mount Olive Township on Thursday morning

There were 38 students, all aged between 10 and 11, and seven adults on board for a school trip. A student was also killed in the crash
There were 38 students, all aged between 10 and 11, and seven adults on board for a school trip. A student was also killed in the crash

There were 38 students, all aged between 10 and 11, and seven adults on board for a school trip. A student was also killed in the crash

 The name of the student who was killed has not been released but one source at the scene said the victim is a young girl who died from blunt force trauma
 The name of the student who was killed has not been released but one source at the scene said the victim is a young girl who died from blunt force trauma

 The name of the student who was killed has not been released but one source at the scene said the victim is a young girl who died from blunt force trauma

Forty-three people were taken to hospital and some remain in a critical condition. Some of the victims are still undergoing surgery in various area hospitals
Forty-three people were taken to hospital and some remain in a critical condition. Some of the victims are still undergoing surgery in various area hospitals

Forty-three people were taken to hospital and some remain in a critical condition. Some of the victims are still undergoing surgery in various area hospitals

Williamson had been a teacher for more than 20 years who grew up on a block not far from the school where she taught fifth grade social studies, a family member told theNew York Times.  

Paramus Mayor Rich LaBarbiera, who has known Williamson and her family his whole life, called the crash a 'horrific event'. 

'Paramus will miss her,' he told NJ.com. 'She was an amazing person.'

Tributes began to pour in for Williamson on Thursday night from both family members and former students on social media. 

Williamson's niece, Kelly Hulahan, wrote on Facebook: 'Rest in Peace Aunt...You will forever be missed and loved. So many great memories with you.'  

Denise Schider Medvitz, whose son David had Williamson as his fifth grade teacher, said it was 'obvious' how much the educator 'loved her job'. 

'David just sent me a message saying "she was the best"', Medvitz wrote on Facebook. 'He and his friends went back to visit her when they were in high school. This is beyond heartbreaking.'

Theo Ancevski (pictured), an 11-year-old student who was in the bus at the time of the accident, said his classmates were 'hanging from their seat belts' and screaming during the crash
Theo Ancevski (pictured), an 11-year-old student who was in the bus at the time of the accident, said his classmates were 'hanging from their seat belts' and screaming during the crash

Theo Ancevski (pictured), an 11-year-old student who was in the bus at the time of the accident, said his classmates were 'hanging from their seat belts' and screaming during the crash

'I heard a scraping sound and we toppled over the highway,' Theo, who suffered minor cuts from the accident, told the Times. 'A few people got out of the windows and they got out of the emergency exit at the top of the roof'
'I heard a scraping sound and we toppled over the highway,' Theo, who suffered minor cuts from the accident, told the Times. 'A few people got out of the windows and they got out of the emergency exit at the top of the roof'

'I heard a scraping sound and we toppled over the highway,' Theo, who suffered minor cuts from the accident, told the Times. 'A few people got out of the windows and they got out of the emergency exit at the top of the roof'

 Both police and passengers have confirmed that all children in the bus were wearing seat belts at the time of the crash 
 Both police and passengers have confirmed that all children in the bus were wearing seat belts at the time of the crash 

 Both police and passengers have confirmed that all children in the bus were wearing seat belts at the time of the crash 

Not only did the bus carriage come off its chassis but the cab, where the driver sits, also tore away from the rest of the bus, splitting the driver and the children up. The steering wheel was left entirely exposed
Not only did the bus carriage come off its chassis but the cab, where the driver sits, also tore away from the rest of the bus, splitting the driver and the children up. The steering wheel was left entirely exposed

Not only did the bus carriage come off its chassis but the cab, where the driver sits, also tore away from the rest of the bus, splitting the driver and the children up. The steering wheel was left entirely exposed

This is the mangled dump truck which was also involved in the accident. Its driver is receiving treatment in hospital. The vehicle belongs to Mendez Trucking which is based out of Belleville, New Jersey 
This is the mangled dump truck which was also involved in the accident. Its driver is receiving treatment in hospital. The vehicle belongs to Mendez Trucking which is based out of Belleville, New Jersey 

This is the mangled dump truck which was also involved in the accident. Its driver is receiving treatment in hospital. The vehicle belongs to Mendez Trucking which is based out of Belleville, New Jersey 

First responders and motorists who got out of their cars to help the children are shown above as the first police arrived
First responders and motorists who got out of their cars to help the children are shown above as the first police arrived

First responders and motorists who got out of their cars to help the children are shown above as the first police arrived

A view from an overpass shows the bus crashed through the barrier on the side of the highway and flipped on to its side. Students had not yet been taken to hospital and there was a rush of other motorists who offered to help them as they climbed out of the vehicle 
A view from an overpass shows the bus crashed through the barrier on the side of the highway and flipped on to its side. Students had not yet been taken to hospital and there was a rush of other motorists who offered to help them as they climbed out of the vehicle 

A view from an overpass shows the bus crashed through the barrier on the side of the highway and flipped on to its side. Students had not yet been taken to hospital and there was a rush of other motorists who offered to help them as they climbed out of the vehicle 

Nick Daurio, another former student, shared his sadness on Twitter. 

'Today I heard news from my old school. One of my old teachers passed in that horrific accident I just want to pray for everyone...rip Ms Williamson' 

The school bus had been headed to a recreated 19th century town known as Waterloo Village when it collided with the truck. It was just a few miles from its destination.   

It remains unclear how the accident happened. The impact was so strong it forced the bus off its chassis.

The cab carrying all of the passengers and driver went flying into the metal barrier on the side of the highway as a result. 

Theo Ancevski, an 11-year-old student who was in the bus at the time of the accident, said his classmates were 'hanging from their seat belts' and screaming during the crash. 

'I heard a scraping sound and we toppled over the highway,' Theo, who suffered minor cuts from the accident, told the Times. 'A few people got out of the windows and they got out of the emergency exit at the top of the roof.' 

Both police and passengers have confirmed that all children were wearing their seat belts.  

Forty-three people were taken to hospital and some remain in a critical condition. Some of the victims are still undergoing surgery in various area hospitals.   

A view from the overpass shows emergency workers loading students into ambulances as other traffic came to a standstill in the immediate aftermath of the crash 
A view from the overpass shows emergency workers loading students into ambulances as other traffic came to a standstill in the immediate aftermath of the crash 

A view from the overpass shows emergency workers loading students into ambulances as other traffic came to a standstill in the immediate aftermath of the crash 

The mangled wreck of the bus on Thursday morning. The bus was one of three taking students from the school to the historic village for the field trip 
The mangled wreck of the bus on Thursday morning. The bus was one of three taking students from the school to the historic village for the field trip 

The mangled wreck of the bus on Thursday morning. The bus was one of three taking students from the school to the historic village for the field trip 

At the scene, discarded bandages and pieces of gauze were left lying on the ground after being used by paramedics
At the scene, discarded bandages and pieces of gauze were left lying on the ground after being used by paramedics

At the scene, discarded bandages and pieces of gauze were left lying on the ground after being used by paramedics

Investigators are pictured at the scene of the crash on Thursday afternoon. The crash is being investigated by both the State Police and the Morris County Prosecutor's Office
Investigators are pictured at the scene of the crash on Thursday afternoon. The crash is being investigated by both the State Police and the Morris County Prosecutor's Office

Investigators are pictured at the scene of the crash on Thursday afternoon. The crash is being investigated by both the State Police and the Morris County Prosecutor's Office

'We had every injury type that you can imagine in a scenario like this,' Jeffrey Paul, the director of the Morris County Office of Emergency Management, said.

'It's tragic for anybody to be in a situation like this. But children - our hearts certainly go out to the families.'  

The bus was one of three taking students from the school to the historic village. 

The other two vehicles arrived safely at the historic site but, when teachers learned of the accident, made their way back to the school after 10 minutes.  The children were told at the time that they had to turn back because of a storm. 

They only learned of the accident involving their classmates once they were back at the school, where they were met by the principal and crisis counselors. School was dismissed at 12.12pm.

Police were seen searching the surrounding woodland with cadaver dogs afterwards. 

Students on the other two buses have since revealed that none of them had their cell phones with them at the time because they all left their phones in lockers at the school before departing for the trip. 

At a press conference on Thursday afternoon, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said morosely: 'I stand here as both the governor and somebody who knows the community very well.' 

'I am also here as a dad and you have days like this...this is tragic.' 

Shattered glass from the windows were left on the highway along with clothes, pieces of paper and bandages that all flew onto the road in the accident 
Shattered glass from the windows were left on the highway along with clothes, pieces of paper and bandages that all flew onto the road in the accident 

Shattered glass from the windows were left on the highway along with clothes, pieces of paper and bandages that all flew onto the road in the accident 

An investigator with a cadaver dog walks through the wreckage on Thursday afternoon 
An investigator with a cadaver dog walks through the wreckage on Thursday afternoon 

An investigator with a cadaver dog walks through the wreckage on Thursday afternoon 

An investigator peers into the bus on Thursday to work at the scene. There were several agencies there by the afternoon 
An investigator peers into the bus on Thursday to work at the scene. There were several agencies there by the afternoon 

An investigator peers into the bus on Thursday to work at the scene. There were several agencies there by the afternoon 

'Our thoughts and prayers are with the families, the teachers, the counselors, the staff, the extraordinary first responders who in many cases were at the scene of this accident.' 

'It is with a heavy heart that we stand before you.'  

The bus collided with a red truck which belongs to Mendez Trucking, a Belleville based company.

The New York Post reports that the company and, specifically the truck which was involved in Thursday's accident, has had a history of problems.

The same truck was involved in an accident on the NJ Turnpike in 2016. It is not clear if it was the same driver. 

The vehicle has the words 'In God We Trust' written on the back. The front of it was destroyed in the accident.

Investigators work at the scene of the accident on Thursday. Students on the other two buses have since revealed that none of them had their cell phones with them at the time because they all left their phones in lockers at the school
Investigators work at the scene of the accident on Thursday. Students on the other two buses have since revealed that none of them had their cell phones with them at the time because they all left their phones in lockers at the school

Investigators work at the scene of the accident on Thursday. Students on the other two buses have since revealed that none of them had their cell phones with them at the time because they all left their phones in lockers at the school

The bus remained on the road long into the afternoon as investigators flocked to the scene. It remains unclear what caused the horrrific crash
The bus remained on the road long into the afternoon as investigators flocked to the scene. It remains unclear what caused the horrrific crash

The bus remained on the road long into the afternoon as investigators flocked to the scene. It remains unclear what caused the horrrific crash

The entire body of the bus came off the chassis and went flying in to the highway median. The cab where the driver sits also came apart from the rest of the carriage
The entire body of the bus came off the chassis and went flying in to the highway median. The cab where the driver sits also came apart from the rest of the carriage

The entire body of the bus came off the chassis and went flying in to the highway median. The cab where the driver sits also came apart from the rest of the carriage

The sun roofs on the bus were left flung open. The students are likely to have used them to escape after the bus flipped onto its side 
The sun roofs on the bus were left flung open. The students are likely to have used them to escape after the bus flipped onto its side 

The sun roofs on the bus were left flung open. The students are likely to have used them to escape after the bus flipped onto its side 

Police will not give any possible explanation for the crash and are referring questions to the state investigators and county prosecutors 
Police will not give any possible explanation for the crash and are referring questions to the state investigators and county prosecutors 

Police will not give any possible explanation for the crash and are referring questions to the state investigators and county prosecutors 

The accident happened on Interstate 80 near Exit 25 in Mount Olive Township. The children are believed to have been on their way to Stanhope on a school trip 
The accident happened on Interstate 80 near Exit 25 in Mount Olive Township. The children are believed to have been on their way to Stanhope on a school trip 

The accident happened on Interstate 80 near Exit 25 in Mount Olive Township. The children are believed to have been on their way to Stanhope on a school trip 

As news of the crash emerged, petrified parents rushed to the school to find out if their child was one of those involved. 

'This is something you hope never happens in your hometown. We’re just waiting to hear from everyone we know,' Angela Miaoulis, one parent, told North Jersey. Her son is in the eighth grade. 

Two patients are at St Joseph's University Medical Center in Paterson. Ten were being cared for at St Clare's Health in Dover and Denville. At least one patient was taken to St. Joseph's Regional Medical Center in Paterson, and several patients were taken to Hackettstown Medical Center.'  

Photographs from the crash show children sitting by the side of the road, hugging one another after escaping from the wreckage. 

Paramus education officials said the schools will remain open on Friday and there will be crisis counselors available to talk with students and parents. 

East Brook Middle School has canceled all field trips for the rest of the year. 

The crash is being investigated by both the State Police and the Morris County Prosecutor's Office. The investigation is being monitored by the National Transportation Safety Board. 

Police used dogs to help search the wooded areas surrounding the road in case anyone had been thrown from the vehicle
Police used dogs to help search the wooded areas surrounding the road in case anyone had been thrown from the vehicle

Police used dogs to help search the wooded areas surrounding the road in case anyone had been thrown from the vehicle

All of the people in the bus and in the truck are accounted for in hospitals across the area. Before police were able to reach that conclusion, they combed the woodland nearby
All of the people in the bus and in the truck are accounted for in hospitals across the area. Before police were able to reach that conclusion, they combed the woodland nearby

All of the people in the bus and in the truck are accounted for in hospitals across the area. Before police were able to reach that conclusion, they combed the woodland nearby

East Brook Middle School (pictured) has canceled all field trips for the rest of the year following the horrific tragedy 
East Brook Middle School (pictured) has canceled all field trips for the rest of the year following the horrific tragedy 

East Brook Middle School (pictured) has canceled all field trips for the rest of the year following the horrific tragedy 

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