Party bus accident kills teen

Party buses can be a good way to get teens safely to and from social events, but an incident in New York points out the dangers those buses can pose to riders. A 16 year-old boy, riding a double-decker party bus from New York to New Jersey, stuck his head out of a rooftop hatch second before the bus went under an overpass. He died of head trauma. A security guard on the bus says he warned the passengers to stay away from the hatch but they didn’t listen.

The security guard told police that he told the teens not to open the hatch, then went downstairs to tell the bus driver it was getting too warm inside the vehicle. The guard says he was gone for a maximum of five minutes and when he returned, the teens were screaming and the victim was lying on the floor. Asked if the passengers were drinking, the guard said he didn’t know, but he says all were searched for alcohol before boarding.

The accident is being investigated by local authorities and the National Transportation Safety board which regulates interstate bus lines. Likely to be at issue are whether there were enough security guards on the bus, why the hatch was accessible to passengers, and how the victim managed to get up high enough to get his head outside. The bus company did not return reporters’ calls.

The birthday party trip-turned-tragedy is already resonating among friends and classmates at the victim’s school, where he would have been a junior this year. Officials say 65 teens were aboard the bus which was going to a Sweet 16 party. The security guard says he tried to move the other youth downstairs and away from the injured boy. An emergency medical technician who stopped to render aid says he is “still traumatized” by the accident.

Source: NY Daily News, “Teen killed after sticking head through party bus roof near George Washington Bridge,” Kerry Wills, Aug. 31, 2012