NEW YORK – Authorities in Newark say a second person, a passenger, has died after two New Jersey Transit buses crashed in Newark Friday morning. In addition to the passenger, a bus driver was also killed in the wreck and nearly two dozen people were sent to local hospitals.
Authorities with New Jersey Transit said Joseph Barthelus was the driver killed in the crash. Barthelus had been an NJ Transit driver for 27 years. The Essex County Prosecutor’s Office did not identify the passenger who was killed on Friday but confirmed that a female passenger on board one of the transit buses had died from her injuries, hours after the crash.
According to transit officials, Barthelus was driving the No. 59 bus, heading west, when it t-boned the No. 13 bus at the corner of Raymond Boulevard and Broad Street in Newark. As of Friday afternoon, the crash caused 2 deaths and at least 18 injuries. Officials said at least one other person remains in critical condition at University Hospital.
A New York bus accident attorney at Cellino & Barnes says many of the victims in this crash could receive compensation for their injuries and a crash investigation will determine exactly what happened.
“Many families are in a state of shock with their loved ones in the hospital and they want to know ‘why?’” New York bus accident lawyer Steve Barnes said. “Every driver is required to have a physical exam at least every two years and an accident investigation will look into all the possibilities including whether the driver had a medical issue or if exhaustion was at play.”
An NJ Transit spokesperson told reporters at nj.com that both drivers were in good standing. Barthelus had been driving for 27 years. The other driver, who survived the crash, was identified as James Roberts and NJ Transit said he had been driving for 35 years.
Witnesses described the Newark bus crash as a “nightmare.” Several people rushed into the intersection to help passengers who were injured during the collision. According to several witnesses who were immediately on scene, one of the buses was empty and was likely going through the intersection at a high speed.
Newark Mayor Ras Barkaka said at a press conference that preliminary data suggested that one of the bus drivers may have run a red light.
While speed and inattention could likely be a factor, New York bus accident lawyers said there many other aspects to look at.
“Buses can have mechanical malfunctions or visual obstructions, preventing the driver from being able to do their job,” Barnes said. “The investigation will also look into road conditions and whether or not the traffic lights were functioning properly.”
The intersection of Raymond and Broad can be particularly dangerous because it’s a five-corner intersection, lawyers said. Not only does Raymond Boulevard cross six lanes of Broad Street, Park Place stems from the intersection as well.
Officials estimated that seven passengers on the bus suffered catastrophic injuries and were taken to University Hospital in Newark, Beth Israel Medical Center, St. Michael’s Hospital, and Trinitas Regional Medical Center in Elizabeth.
“Those who are in the hospital recuperating from the crash could have a difficult recovery ahead. Our firm has handled many bus accident cases and most of the victims and their families are looking for help.” Barnes stated.
“First, medical help so that they get the best immediate treatment and then the best follow up care.
“Then they want help answering why or how this accident happened. The state investigation and any private investigations of videos, driving records, bus inspection records, road design, road surface components, traffic light timing and positioning, intersection accident history and witness statements will be critical.
“The victims will also want help with loss wages, transportation issues, child care, missing time from work, and pain and suffering compensation.”
Barnes also said that every victim wants to make sure that this type of New Jersey bus accident doesn’t happen again.
Cellino & Barnes 800-888-8888