WEST NEW YORK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — There was a heavy dose of disappointment Thursday for a grieving family from Bergen County, when the bus driver who killed their daughter was acquitted of vehicular homicide.
After court, the parents visited their daughter’s gravesite, and then spoke exclusively with CBS2’s Tony Aiello.
The verdict, while disappointing, was not completely unexpected for the parents of 8-month-old Angelie Paredes. The bus driver, Idowu Daramola, said the death of this little girl was a tragic accident, but that is something her mother will never accept.
“When something like this happens, a lot of people feel — they call it an accident,” said Maylin Hago-Paredes. “But there’s clearly someone here to blame.”
Hago-Paredes and her husband, Jairo Parades, blamed the man who was at the wheel of the bus, which
Investigators said Daramola was exhausted and distracted by his cellphone.
But on Thursday, a judge said prosecutors had not met their burden of proof for criminal charges and found Daramola not guilty.
“The law wasn’t on our side,” Hago-Paredes said.
Aiello asked Hago-Paredes whether she was disappointed in the judge or the system.
“I’m angry at the system,” she said. “But there’s not much I can do; just keep moving forward from here on.”
A year after Angelie died, the couple welcomed a son, Leo, into their lives.
“We have each other. We hold each other tight. Our son — he’s our everything,” Jairo Paredes said. “But we miss our baby girl. After this whole thing, we went right to the cemetery to see her.”
When Hago-Paredes testified Wednesday, driver Daramola burst into tears. She accepts that he feels remorse.
“May God have mercy on his soul,” she said. “But you have to forgive in order to move on as well.”
Memories of Angelie are engraved forever in her parents’ hearts, and they would like it permanently enshrined here at the scene. They are looking to create a memorial to their beloved little girl here at the park in West New York.
A defense attorney said Daramola was relieved at the verdict. He offered condolences and apologized to the Paredes family.