NTSB investigating deadly Burlco bus crash

March 8, 2012 11:20:36 AM PST
The NTSB says an investigation is underway into a bus crash in Chesterfield, N.J. that left one child dead and 17 others injured.

A news conference was held Friday afternoon, where the NTSB explained their reason for looking into highway configuration, signage, and other factors.

"It drew our attention because New Jersey is one of six states that has seatbelt requirements on school buses for passengers. The safety board has been interested in occupant protection on school buses for several years," said Chief Investigator Pete Kotwski.

Chesterfield Police report that 17 accidents occurred at this intersection over the last five years, including yesterday's fatal accident.

The crash happened around 8:05 a.m. Thursday at the intersection of Bordentown Chesterfield Road (Route 528) and Old York Road in Chesterfield Township.

A bus carrying Chesterfield Elementary School students was travelling along Old York Road when a dump truck coming down Route 528 collided with the driver side rear of the bus. The collision spun the bus around, slamming the passenger side rear of the vehicle into a traffic light pole.

The dump truck driver has been identified as Michael Caporale, 38, from New Egypt, New Jersey. The school bus driver is identified as John Tieman, 66, from Beverly, New Jersey.

There have been no charges filed at this time as the investigation continues.

"We still have to wait for toxicology to come back, and the forensics before we can go ahead and determine charges," said Chief Kyle Wilson of the Chesterfield Township Police Department.

Meanwhile, word came on Friday that the condition of one of the victims has improved since the crash. According to Cooper University Medical Center, 11-year-old Natalie Tezsla has been upgraded to stable condition.

Her sister, 11-year-old Isabelle Tezsla died after the school bus she was on was hit by a dump truck on Thursday morning in Burlington County, New Jersey.

The girls, along with 11-year-old Sophie Tezsla, were the triplet daughters of New Jersey State Police Trooper Anthony Tezsla. Sophie remained in critical condition.

Natalie's condition has been upgraded to stable. However her sister Sophie, and another child, 11-year-old Jonathan Zdybel, remain in critical condition.

25 children were on the bus at the time of the crash, and 17 of them were injured.

Chesterfield Elementary School was supposed to be closed for the President's Day holiday weekend but grief counselors were on hand throughout the morning to help classmates cope with the loss.