School bus ‘mangled’ after crash with dump truck in Mount Olive, New Jersey
There are reports of multiple injuries after a school bus accident on Route 80 in Mount Olive. Stay tuned for more on this breaking story.
Michael V. Pettigano, Digital Developer
MOUNT OLIVE — A school bus carrying middle school students from Paramus was ripped from its chassis in an accident with a dump truck on Route 80 west, sending fifth graders to area hospitals with unknown injuries.
There are no confirmed reports of any deaths in the accident. A press conference is scheduled shortly.
The bus is believed to have been carrying students from Eastbrook Middle School for a field trip to Waterloo Village. The school’s calendar listed a field trip for the 5th grade today, but officials have not confirmed where the students were from.
New Jersey State Police tweeted that a dump truck was also involved in the crash, but officials did not immediately return calls for information.
The accident occurred near the Waterloo Village exit — Exit 25 — on Route 80.
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Two officials said the school bus has the Paramus Board of Education logo on its side. Mount Olive Mayor Rob Greenbaum said he rushed to the scene and was observing the rescue efforts from an overpass overlooking Route 80 west.
“There’s an incredible emergency response from throughout Morris County and by State Police,” he said. “It’s a horrific scene.”
At the scene, the front cab of the school bus appeared to be obliterated and separated from the rest of the bus. The undercarriage or the chassis and tires were also separated from the body of the bus, which was on it’s side.
State police brought in K-9s and searched the woods and areas near the bus accident scene at about 12:30 p.m.
Morristown Medical Center, which has a Level 1 trauma center, and Hackettstown Medical Center, a community hospital, are both receiving patients, said Elaine Andrecovich, a spokeswoman for Atlantic Health System, to which both hospitals belong. The hospital was not releasing the number of patients or their conditions at this time, she said.
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Two people were also being evaluated at the emergency department of St. Joseph’s University Medical Center in Paterson, said Pam Garretson, a spokeswoman.
Police officers are keeping reporters out of East Brook Middle School, only allowing families to enter. An information area has been set up in the Middle School’s auditorium.
Camilla Palombo, 17, and Denise Yildirim, 16, both juniors at Paramus High School left their lunch period to go to the middle school because they have siblings enrolled there.
As they exited the school, they said district administrators told them one out of three buses headed to Waterloo Village was involved in the crash.
When Yildirim saw a photo of the school bus online, she said her “heart dropped” and she “couldn’t breathe.”
Gisely Cabrera parent of an eighth-grader heard about the accident from friends and “came running” to the scene. “This is scary. I don’t even know what’s happening but I knew I needed to be here.”
The middle school students were released early, shortly after noon. Some of the children leaving school were crying.
At least one patient was taken to St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center in Paterson, and several patients were taken to Hackettstown Medical Center, Sgt. Darren Tynan, of the Hackettstown Police Department, said.
Anna Scalora, public information officer with Atlantic Health System, said Hackettstown Medical Center is still accepting victims of the accident but did not know how many or their condition. Scalora also said that Morristown Medical Center was accepting victims.
“It’s still an active situation,” Scalora said.
One child walked off a Morris County Office of Emergency Management vehicle at the scene, sat on a stretcher which was wheeled on to a nearby ambulance. The child did not appear to be injured.
According to 511nj.org, all vehicles are being detoured with a five to 10 minute delay. Route 80 west is closed from Exit 19 to the accident site at Exit 25. One lane of Route 80 east is also closed.
Multiple patients are being transported to the Hackettstown Medical Center but the number is unknown, said Hackettstown Police Sgt. Darren Tynan. Allamuchy is also sending out ambulance units to the scene.
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The scene of an accident involving a school bus on Route 80 in Mount Olive.
Robert Karp, Morristown Daily Record
Check back for more on this breaking news story.
Staff Writers Peggy Wright, Katie Sobko contributed to this report.
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