By Jericka Duncan
CHESTERFIELD TOWNSHIP, NJ (CBS) — Eyewitness News has learned new details about what led up to that deadly school bus crash in New Jersey that claimed the life of a 6th grade Chesterfield Township student.
“Our mission is to understand, not just what happened, but why it happened,” said Pete Kotowski with the National Transportation Safety Board.
Kotowski told a room full of reporters on Friday that it could 12-16 months before the NTSB investigation into that deadly school bus accident in Chesterfield Township is complete.
“As of yet, we have reached no conclusions.”
Last Thursday morning, authorities say, 66-year-old John Tieman pulled up to a stop sign heading north on Old York Road. He never made it through the intersection at County Route 528. A dump truck driver, 38-year-old Michael Caporale, hit the rear of this school bus. Seventeen children were injured, and Isabelle Teszla was killed.
“The school bus driver stated to investigators that he never saw the approaching Mack truck from his west,” said Kotowski. “The Mack truck driver reported he was traveling about 45 miles per hour, the posted speed limit.”
Kotowski explained that the truck driver told investigators that he applied the brakes and turned to the left prior to the collision.
Officials say the truck was 5% over the registered limit of 80 thousand pounds. Eyewitness News also learned the 66-year-old school bus driver had just started on the job three weeks ago, and it was his 9th day driving that particular route.
Investigators are also looking into line of sight and the effect trees and poles at the intersection may have had on the driver’s views. Officials say that in the coming weeks, they plan to make improvements at this intersection, which may include bigger and brighter signs.