By Robin Rieger
CHESTERFIELD, N.J. (CBS) – The family of the 11-year-old triplet killed in a school bus crash in Burlington County issued a statement Tuesday.
Eleven-year-old Isabelle Tezsla died last Thursday in Chesterfield after a dump truck collided with a school bus. Her two sisters, Sophie and Natalie and another 11-year-old boy, Jonathan Zdybel, suffered critical injuries in the crash. Hospital officials said Sophie was updated to stable condition on Friday.
“There are no words to express the gratitude and appreciation that we have for the kindness and professionalism that our rescue workers, doctors and nurses have shown our girls,” said the Tezsla family.
“In addition, the outpouring of love and support that we have received, in particular from everyone in our community and the surrounding communities, has touched us profoundly. We thank you for your continued prayers for our Isabelle, Sophie and Natalie.”
On Friday, the National Transportation Safety Board announced they’d be joining the investigation of the bus crash.
Pete Kotowski of the NTSB says they can’t investigate every accident but are involved in this one because it involved a school bus. It also drew their attention because New Jersey is one of six states that have seat belt requirements on school bus for passengers.
Investigators have been recreating the scene and are searching for other vehicle factors that could have contributed to the accident that killed Isabelle.
Meanwhile, John Zdybel’s cousin, John Fryc says he helped start a Facebook page called “Prayers for the Zdybel’s” to give accurate information and receive support and well wishes.
“We just want to let people know John needs prayer. He’s fighting for his life right now,” Fryc said.
According to Fryc, John is suffering from head trauma and brain swelling.
“Yesterday he had some reactions to the comatose drugs, weaning him off and his brain pressures going above where they would have like them to be.”
Fryc said he’s improved since then.
“The numbers are in the teens where they are supposed to be.”
He says the family is grateful for the community support and he has noticed, as have others, the signs and blue and yellow ribbons on trees and lawns that greeted students heading back to Chesterfield Elementary school Tuesday.
“Hopefully someone driving by that, who knows the families can let them know the community is with them,” said Chesterfield resident Kim Prihoda.