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Motor vehicle accidents: 2 dead in New Jersey crash

A bus driver with a history of suspended licenses is believed to be responsible for the crash of a school bus in Mt. Olive, according to local sources. The records of the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission show the 77-year-old driver had his license suspended some 14 times over the course of his career, including for five motor vehicle accidents. It is not clear whether he will face charges for this most recent crash. 

According to the accident record, around 10:20 a.m. the morning of May 17, the driver was transporting 44 teachers and students from a local middle school to a field trip in the northwestern part of the state. Police believe he may have attempted to make an illegal U-turn on Interstate 80, which resulted in his bus colliding with a dump truck before overturning on the median. Photos of the accident show the bus completely separated from its chassis. 

The force of the impact killed a 51-year-old teacher and a 10-year-old female student. Everyone else on board the bus, including the driver, was taken to local hospitals for various injuries. It is unclear at this time whether the man's advanced age is being considered a factor in the accident, but it seems likely he will be suspended from his duties until an investigation can be completed. 

Even if New Jersey police choose not to file criminal charges against the bus driver, as they sometimes do in the case of motor vehicle accidents, it will still be possible for the injured parties and especially the families of the deceased to seek legal recourse. If they so choose, they could file personal injury and/or wrongful death lawsuits in civil court against the driver and the bus company that employed him, as well as the school board. Considering the severity of the crash, the court may then choose to award financial damages to the injured parties and the grieving families. 

Source: The New York Times, "School Bus Driver in Fatal New Jersey Crash Had License Suspended 14 Times", Patrick McGeehan, May 22, 2018

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