A New Jersey teenager has died after hitting his head on a freeway overpass as he traveled to a Sweet 16 birthday party on a rented party bus, reports AP.
Daniel Fernandez, of Sayreville, N.J. reportedly stuck his head out of the emergency hatch of a double-decker bus and struck the underside of the Fletcher Avenue overpass of Interstate 95 at about 6:30 p.m.
16-year-old Fernandez was rushed to Hackensack University Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead, police said.
Alex Franco, the security guard on the bus, told the NY Daily News that he repeatedly warned the teens not to open the emergency hatch.
“I told them not to open the hatch, like three or four times, but kids, they don't understand,” said Franco. After warning them to keep away from the hatch, Franco said he headed downstairs to tell the driver that it was getting too hot in the bus.
“It was very hot. Everybody was dancing. Two, five minutes I was downstairs,” Franco explained. “Then I heard two guys screaming, ‘Oh my God, oh my God,’” and he ran upstairs. “I saw him on the floor. His face was like, no teeth. I said, ‘Who is this guy?’”
The NY Daily News reports that Leon McKiver, an emergency medical technician, was passing the scene and stopped to help. “I’m still traumatized that this happened and especially that this happened to a young kid,” McKiver reportedly told NBC4.
Fernandez was among 65 teens aboard the bus headed to a Sweet 16 party in New Jersey. The bus had just crossed over the George Washington Bridge from Manhattan when the accident happened, Port Authority spokesman Al Della Fave told NBC News.
No other physical injuries were reported, but according to NBC New York, the other teens on board the bus appeared to suffer severe emotional trauma.
The company that owns the bus, Designer Transportation, expressed "deepest heartfelt sympathy" for the boy's family and told AP that it plans to conduct an internal investigation.