WEST NEW YORK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A bus driver has been hit with multiple charges, after allegedly using a cellphone while driving and causing a chain-reaction crash that left a baby dead in West New York, N.J. on Tuesday.
The driver — Idowu Daramola, 48, of Thornwood — was charged with reckless driving, using a cellphone while driving, and death by auto, authorities told CBS 2.
“We lost a little angel today because of negligence,” said Vickie Cepeda, a friend of the victim’s family.
The driver was allegedly behind the wheel of a bus that went out of control — jumping the curb and striking a lamppost on Boulevard East near 56th Street, according to the Hudson County Sheriff’s Office. The bus went on to take out another lamp post and some shade trees before crashing into a series of parked cars on Boulevard East.
Meanwhile, the first lamppost crashed down, smashing into a baby carriage.
The baby — identified by neighbors as Angelie Paredes — and the driver of the bus were rushed to an area hospital, where the 8-month-old died of massive head injuries. The baby’s mother, Maylin Paredes, was also taken to the hospital in shock.
A witness, “Fleming,” saw it all.
“I saw the lady, ‘My baby!’ She was crying, her baby, her baby, and the first responding police officer went again back to her, and right there the ambulance came and they took her into the ambulance,” he told 1010 WINS’ Gary Baumgarten.
“I have an 8-month baby myself. It’s sad. It’s really sad,” witness Catherine Ordinola told CBS 2’s Lou Young.
As CBS 2’s Lou Young reported, in the chaotic aftermath of the accident, the mother collapsed in horror, Young reported.
“The baby was not responding. The mother was next to the baby crying on the floor, screaming,” witness Johanner Romero said.
A West New York police officer tried unsuccessfully to revive the baby.
“I checked for a pulse, breathing; the eyes were dilated and I just started giving CPR,” Officer Michael Stetson said.
Stetson, a father of three, told WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell that the incident will be hard to shake.
Witnesses also said they were having a hard time processing the happenstance crash.
“To be honest, I cried. Not just me, a lot of people over there because we feel that there’s nothing we could do about it,” Juan Navarreta told Young.
Angelie was the only child of a young North Bergen couple, who posted pictures of her in a park swing just this past Monday, and in a swimming pool with her dad.
Mother and baby were on the promenade with its spectacular view of Manhattan when the fatal encounter took place.
As of late Tuesday, the baby’s mother remained hospitalized in shock with her husband at her side. Neighbors said the circumstances of the tragedy are unacceptable.
“They are wonderful people. They deserve all our support,” Cepeda said. “Someone needs to regulate those buses.”
Meanwhile, an investigation into the crash revealed that the bus driver was on a cellphone at the time of the crash, police said.
“We don’t know if he was texting or talking on his phone,” said Hudson County Sheriff Frank X. Schillari. “This is what distracted him, we feel, and he lost control of his bus.”
The bus was operated by Sphinx Transportation, which provides shuttle service between New Jersey and New York City.
Daramola could face 10 years in prison if convicted of all the charges.
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