WEST NEW YORK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Several New Jersey lawmakers gathered at the site of a fatal bus crash Tuesday to push for tougher regulations for drivers.
Rep. Albio Sires, State Sen. Nicholas Sacco, West New York Mayor Felix Roque and others called for expanded oversight of jitney buses in the wake of last week’s crash that killed 8-month-old Angelie Paredes.
“To make sure that all of these drivers are properly licensed, are properly trained and that all the vehicles meet the safety standards,” Sires said.
As WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond reported, Paredes’ parents were asked if there was anything local officials could do.
“Their answer was just ‘help us stop the problem with the vans and buses,'” Sacco said. “Because until they start seeing the full effect of the law, this is not going to stop.”
Paredes was being pushed in a stroller on a sidewalk in West New York when a bus lost control and struck a pole, which fell onto the stroller and killed Paredes.
The bus then struck a tree, another lamppost and a parked car, which hit three other parked vehicles, police said. Several other people were injured.
The toddler’s funeral was held Monday.
Authorities said the bus driver, Idowu Daramola, was using his cellphone at the time of the crash.
“We don’t know if he was texting or talking on his phone,” Hudson County Sheriff Frank Schillari said last week. “This is what distracted him, we feel, and he lost control of his bus.”
He has been charged with death by auto, reckless driving and using a cellphone while operating a vehicle and is being held on $250,000 bail.
Sacco said bus operators must also be held accountable.
“Until they start seeing the full effect of the law, this is not going to stop,” he said.
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