On the way to a Sweet 16 in New Jersey, Daniel Fernandez, a 16-year-old from Sayreville, was one of 65 passengers on Designer Limo's double-decker party buses. The party-goers had just crossed the George Washington Bridge and merging onto the I-95 when something went terribly, terribly wrong.
The enormous vehicle, built
to fit 65 to 70 passengers, had begun to heat up inside because, according
to the security guard present, Fernandez rushed to the driver to tell him so. As a warning, the guard, a Mr. Alex Franco, repeatedly told the kids to keep the hatch closed as a safety measure.
In an interview with The Daily News
, he said, "I told them not to open the hatch, like three or four times, but kids, they don't understand. It was very hot; everybody was dancing. Two, five minutes I was downstairs. Then I heard two kids screaming, 'Oh my God. Oh my God.'
Fernandez couldn't handle the heat anymore: at around 6:45pm, the teenager opened the hatch on the bus's roof and hit his head on an underpass for Fletcher Avenue, severing extreme trauma on the 16-year-old. That was what the security guard had heard from a floor below.
The 16-year-old was pronounced dead on arrival
at the nearby Hackensack University Medical Center soon after.
The horrible news was released to reporters soon after by Port Authority of New York and New Jersey spokesperson, Al Della Fave. The announcement came as a response to huge delays that resulted on the beginning of I-95, as emergency responders and police officials swarmed the scene.
It is unsure whether the other 65 kids on the bus suffered immediate emotional trauma but, with an atrocity like that happening, who could not? After the fatal accident, they were let off at the lower level of a bridge administration building. Their parents then picked them all up and brought them home.