By Mark Abrams and Steve Patterson
PLEASANTVILLE, N.J. (CBS) — A third person has died as a result of injuries suffered in a Memorial Day afternoon crash between a car and a New Jersey Transit bus in Pleasantville, NJ.
Authorities confirm that 16-year-old Amber Fernandez, who was in the car when it crossed the center line and collided with the bus on Franklin Boulevard, died Monday night in Atlanticare Regional Medical Center, in Atlantic City.
Two other passengers, 18-year-old Tevin Campbell and 14-year-old Kira Strider, were pronounced dead at the scene of the Monday afternoon accident (see previous story and video).
Today, school officials from the Atlantic County Vocational School District confirm that Strider was a student at the Atlantic County Institute of Technology.
Eyewitness News reporter Steve Patterson spoke exclusively with the mother of the youngest victim.
“Everybody loved her. She was so well liked,” said Kira’s mother, Amanda Mann. “She was like my best friend.”
She added, “She was smart, beautiful. She did great in school, so outgoing.”
Police now say there were five other passengers in the car, driven by 18-year-old Melissa Rodriguez, at the time it swerved into the path of the bus.
Nine people were on the bus, including the driver, and those who were hurt suffered minor injuries.
Police say the bus driver and the car driver were tested for drugs and alcohol.
The driver and three surviving passengers of the car, the bus driver, and several bus passengers, were transported for treatment to the AtlantiCare Regional MedicalCenter—Atlantic City Campus.
“The kids are devastated, everybody is devastated,” Mann said. “I don’t even believe it. I can’t even believe it.”
Philip J. Guenther, Ed.D., Superintendent of the Atlantic County Vocational School District, released the following statement on Tuesday:
“The entire Atlantic County Institute of Technology (ACIT) school community mourns the tragic loss of freshman, Kira Strider. Kira was a bright and energetic young lady who was well liked by her peers and teachers; she was an excellent student in our Information Technology Academy. Counselors were available today at ACIT to assist students as they begin to deal with the loss of their classmate and friend. We offer our sincerest condolences to Kira’s family.”