A New Jersey teenager headed to a Sweet 16 party was killed Friday night after he stuck his head out the emergency hatch of a double-decker bus and hit a highway overpass.
Daniel Fernandez, 16, was one of 65 teens aboard the party bus as it crossed the George Washington Bridge from New York City, the New York Daily News reported. The accident occurred around 6:45 p.m.; Fernandez was pronounced dead of severe head trauma at a hospital a short time later.
“When the bus went under the Fletcher Ave. overpass, the boy’s head struck the underside of that overpass,” a New York Port Authority spokesman told the newspaper.
Fernandez’s friends witnessed the accident and were left covered in his blood, according to the New York Post.
“Kids said they saw a lot of blood and they saw his head get struck. They were so traumatized,” Leon Tyrone McKivor, an emergency medical technician who stopped to help at the scene, told the Post. “I could see the look on their faces. A handful were covered with blood.”
One girl who was apparently on the bus when it happened tweeted afterward: “Sitting here with your blood on my foot wishing this was all a bad dream. I love you so much dan you were there for me till the last second.”
A security guard who was on the bus said he told the teens to leave the rooftop hatch alone.
“I told them not to open the hatch, like three or four times, but kids, they don’t understand,” Alex Franco, 41, told the Daily News.
He said he went downstairs to speak to the driver about how hot it was inside the bus.
“It was very hot. Everybody was dancing. Two, five minutes I was downstairs,” Franco said. “Then I heard two guys screaming, ‘Oh my God, oh my God.’ … I saw him on the floor. His face was like, no teeth.”
Designer Transportation, the company that operates the bus, expressed its “deepest heartfelt sympathy” for the boy’s family, according to the Associated Press, and said it plans to conduct an internal investigation.