1 Student Killed, 17 Injured In School Bus, Dump Truck Crash In Burlington County

By Robin Rieger and Mark Abrams

CHESTERFIELD, N.J. (CBS) – An 11-year-old girl was killed and 17 students were injured, three seriously, in a crash involving a school bus and a dump truck in Burlington County Thursday morning.

The accident happened at about 8 a.m. at a four-way intersection at Bordentown Chesterfield Road (Route 528) and Old York Road in Chesterfield, New Jersey.

According to investigators, the dump truck was driving on Route 528 when it struck the rear of the school bus on the driver side. The impact sent the bus into a nearby utility pole. The dump truck ended up going off the road and onto a grassy patch where it left deep tire marks.

Investigators say an 11-year-old female, identified as Isabelle Tezsla, was killed in the crash. Sources say the victim is the daughter of a New Jersey State Trooper. Sources also say she was a triplet and that her two siblings, Sophie and Natalie Tezsla, were on the bus at the time of the crash.

The bus was carrying approximately 25 students from grades kindergarten to sixth. Seventeen students on the bus were injured – three of the students suffered life-threatening injuries, officials said.

By mid-afternoon, five students remained in the hospital. Three 11-year-old students were at Cooper University Hospital in Camden, including Sophie and Natalie Tezsla, the twin sisters of the deceased, and Jonathan Zdybel, all three in critical condition. One student was taken to Robert Wood Johnson University in New Brunswick, and one was taken to Capital Health Regional Medical Center in unknown condition.

Investigators said John Tieman, 66, and Michael Caporale, 38, both suffered minor injuries and were treated at the hospital. Tieman drove the bus and Caporale is the truck driver, both were questioned by investigators.

Listen to full press conference by Chesterfield, N.J. Police Chief Kyle Wilson …

The bus was equipped with seat belts, but authorities said it was not immediately known how many were wearing them.

Authorities say the school bus was going to the Chesterfield Township Elementary School. The school will be closed on Friday and on Monday for President’s Day Weekend, but grief counselors will be available for students and parents who might need them. School Superintendent Ellen McHenry said after school and evening activities with the exception of their after-care program would be canceled Thursday night.

At Chesterfield Baptist Church, a vigil was held Thursday evening to remember Isabella and the three other seriously injured students.

So far, no charges have been filed. The exact cause of the accident remains under investigation.

Thursday night Governor Christie released the following statement:

“This is a terrible tragedy. Mary Pat and I, and everyone from the Governor’s Office, send our thoughts and prayers to Sergeant Tezsla, his wife and family for the grievous loss of their child, Isabelle, and with hopes for a speedy recovery of the injuries suffered by Sophie and Natalie. The family’s grief must be enormous. We can only imagine their pain, and lend our support and prayers in this most difficult of times. We are sure that all of Chesterfield Township, the family of State Police men and women, and indeed residents all across New Jersey, have the Tezslas in their thoughts and prayers. Our same concerns and prayers extend to the other children aboard the bus, particularly Jonathan Zdybel, the young boy who also remains hospitalized and in critical condition.”

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One Comment

  1. Prayerful says:

    I can’t even picture what it was like!! My prayers go out to all the children on that bus! You always your just going school there no such thing as to carful!! Also was Isabella sitting were the pole and the bus hit?

  2. Slick says:

    I don’t think a seat belt would have saved that young girl especially if she was sitting where the pole hit the bus…she probably hit her head…poor baby….I am praying for the family.

    1. Prayerful says:

      she didn’t hit her head she was thrown on to the ground

  3. Slick says:

    I don’t think a seat belt would have save that young girl especially if she was sitting where the pole hit the bus…she probably hit her head…poor baby….I am praying for the family.

  4. Jerry says:

    My thoughts and prayers to all the families

  5. Jerry says:

    My thoughts and prayers to all the families

  6. Kaytlynn D'Agostino says:

    Yea well the driver was my uncle and he would never do anything to hurt children, I know that for a fact and if the dumptruck hit the back of the bus then obviously the dumptruck driver wasnt paying attention and it was his stupidity cause my uncle had already cleared the intersection.

    1. Jennifer says:

      I don’t think either party intended to hurt the children. That is why it is called an accident. Everyone should save their judgements until the facts are out.

  7. Ursula R. Tucker, Clamont, DE says:

    My heart and prayers go out to the Zydbal and Tezla families. Especially , to Sophie and Natalie Tesla. I was born a twin and lost her at age 11 in a pedestrian/auto accident. Please hold onto each other let your fmaily help you heal. You won’t forget your sister when remember all the times you had together, the good, the bad, and even the funny. It will be okay.

  8. Gina says:

    May all those involved in this tragic accident today know only that which is of the highest good.

  9. andrea says:

    My prayers are with the Teszla family…not only are they suffering the loss of their daughter, but two of their other children are in critical condition with life threatening injuries. This is truly a parent’s worst nightmare come true…how many of us send our children to school each morning on a bus thinking that they will get to school safely…that nothing this unimaginable can happen??? Can’t even fathom what they are going through right now.
    Prayers to the Zydbal family as well…hoping that Lord heals your son and brings you comfort during this difficult time….

    1. BM says:

      That is not a dump truck. It is a roll off container. The school bus driver are like most drivers in NJ. They think they have the right away.

      My sympathy goes out to all their families.

  10. Jack says:

    Those Liedtka drivers are terrible. They should have a training program for them because i can remeber atleast 2 other accidents invloving Liedtka dumptrucks in CHesterfield in the past 2 years.

    1. LT says:

      It wasn’t a Leidtka truck. It was Hermann Trucking out of Wrightstown. A Leidtka, however, was one of the students on the bus.

  11. Heather says:

    My heart goes out to all the families who had children on that bus. This is one of a parents worst nightmares. I send my codolences to the family who lost a beautiful little soul .May God Bless and keep all those who were impacted by this heart wrenching accident.

  12. Martin says:

    May God send Angels to the Trooper and his family to bring some comfort. I know their pain all too well. We do not walk alone.

  13. Jim says:

    Americans Praying for Americans, “Our hearts and prayers are going out to all involved. There are people across this nation praying for you.

  14. Dave says:

    Every parent feels an ache in their heart upon reading a story like this….I will put these people on my Churches prayer list for Sunday…God grant healing and peace.

  15. Stephanie says:

    I was there a few minutes after it happened. I truly wish there was something I could have done. I’m so sorry to all the families of these children, my prayers are with you.

  16. Tracie says:

    My thoughts and Prayers Go out to all involved. I am so sorry for your loss and tragedy!

  17. michaela1579 says:

    Thats horrible! I hope there was no foul play involved. R.I.P ! I can only imagine what those kids and parents are going through!

  18. dave says:

    I can’t believe I just wasted 04:19 minutes of my life watching that video! Would have been nice if they panned out so we could see the dumptruck, where it ended up, see how the intersection is layed out, etc. instead of 04:19 minutes of the same exact scene.

    1. LT says:

      Sucks to feel that you’ve wasted a whole 4+ minutes of your life. On the bright side … at least you’re not the 11-yr old girl who died today.

    2. Dave says:

      Yea, poor YOU… What an idiot comment… How about some compassion instead… You’re a disgrace to the name Dave…

  19. Cynthia Petillo says:

    How tragic! This is the sort of news you never want to hear. Thoughts and prayers to the children, victims and their families!

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