Wake For N.J. Bus Accident Victim Miranda Vargas

Ethan Harp/WCBS 880

Wake Held For Girl, 10, Killed In Mount Olive, N.J. School Bus Crash

May 20, 2018 - 1:26 pm
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CLIFTON, N.J. (WCBS 880) -- A wake was held Sunday for a 10-year-old girl who was killed in a crash last week involving a dump truck and a school bus on Route 80 in Mount Olive, New Jersey.

The funeral for the girl, Miranda Vargas, will be held on Monday in Clifton.

The funeral for the teacher who also died in the crash – Jennifer Williamson, 51 – will be held on Thursday in Paramus. Her wake will be held Tuesday and Wednesday.

A former student of Williamson’s spoke with CBS2.

“She was so dedicated to what she did; all she, like, her whole life was teaching,” the former student said.

Gov. Phil Murphy has announced flags in New Jersey will be flown at half-staff this week in memory of Williamson and Vargas. Meanwhile, the mayor of Paramus has announced a memorial service will be held Sunday evening.

The deadly crash happened on Thursday. Video of the crash apparently shows the bus driver attempted a U-turn by turning from an access road across the interstate when it was hit by a dump truck. 

PHOTOS: Deadly New Jersey School Bus Crash

The video from the New Jersey Department of Transportation has not been made public, but a source who watched it tells CBS News the bus got off at the exit for Waterloo Village, where the East Brook Middle School students were heading on a field trip, but the driver made a wrong turn and headed back to Interstate 80, WCBS 880's Alex Silverman reported. Then instead of merging onto the highway, he tried to make a sharp left from the accress road across three lanes of traffic toward a turnaround that's restricted to official vehicles. At that point, a dump truck traveling westbound crashed slammed into the rear of the bus, separating the cabin of the yellow bus from its chassis.

The bus flipped on its side over a guard rail and came to rest on the grassy median in Mount Olive. 

There were 38 fifth grade students and seven adults, including the driver, on the bus.

Meanwhile, the trucking company, Mendez Trucking in Belleville, has 247 safety violations over the past two years, 13 driving citations and eight accidents.