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Security Guard On Party Bus Fatality: ‘I Told Them Not To Open The Hatch’

This double-decker bus was involved in the Friday night incident. (credit: CBS 2)

This double-decker bus was involved in the Friday night incident. (credit: CBS 2)

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FORT LEE, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) - A teenager headed to a Sweet 16 party was killed after he stuck his head out of the emergency hatch of a double-decker bus and hit the underside of a highway overpass, police said.

Daniel Fernandez of Sayreville, N.J., was among 65 teens aboard the bus at about 6:30 p.m. on Friday night as it crossed the George Washington Bridge from New York City, said Port Authority of New York and New Jersey police.

The 16-year-old was pronounced dead at a hospital.

1010 WINS reporter Gary Baumgarten spoke with Fernandez’ friends…

Fernandez’s English teacher at St. Francis Preparatory School was in tears on Saturday when she learned that he died. She said that he was an “adorable, low-key kid” with a sweet smile and lots of friends, and added that he was popular “with the girls.”

Alex Franco, a security guard on the bus, told the Daily News that he had warned the teens to leave the hatch alone.

“I told them not to open the hatch like three or four times,” he said. “But kids, they don’t understand.”

Franco said he went downstairs to tell the driver that it was getting too hot.

“It was very hot,” he said. “Everybody was dancing. Two, five minutes I was downstairs. Then I heard two guys screaming, `Oh my God, oh my God.'”

Fernandez’ friends 1010 WINS reporter Gary Baumgarten that he would be remembered for his constant ‘good cheer’.

“He was a really close friend of mine and I really miss him. We used to see each other every weekend, and now it’s not the same,” said Cindy.

Designer Transportation, which operates the bus, expressed its “deepest heartfelt sympathy” for the boy’s family. It said that it plans to conduct an internal investigation.

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(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)