A bus carrying Chesterfield Elementary School students was travelling along Old York Road when a dump truck coming down Route 528 collided with the driver side rear of the bus. The collision spun the bus around, slamming the passenger side rear of the vehicle into a traffic light pole. The dump truck driver has been identified as Michael Caporale, 38, from New Egypt, New Jersey. The school bus driver is identified as John Tieman, 66, from Beverly, New Jersey.
The National Transportation Safety Board has joined the investigation into this accident, which resulted in the death of a sixth-grade student and injured 17 others, including the girl’s triplet sisters. The NTSB investigators are looking at the configuration of the highway, the signage on the highway, and the general area itself. An NTSB spokesman said that they became involved due to the fact that New Jersey is one of six states that has a seat belt requirement for school bus passengers.
The NTSB will be on scene for approximately one week, Kotowski said. After that, the group will return to Washington, D.C. where they’ll conduct a full investigation. Chesterfield Police Chief Kyle Wilson said the intersection of Route 528 and Old York Road has had 17 crashes in the last five years, including several this past year. In fact, one of the accidents — a two vehicle collision — happened just days after the fatal school bus accident. Clearly, authorities are seeking to determine whether the design of the roadway was appropriate and whether such design contributed to the accident.
Isabelle Tezsla, 11, was killed in the crash. Her triplet sisters, Natalie and Sophie, were taken along with another boy Jonathan Zdybel, also 11, to Cooper University Medical Center in critical condition after the accident. Cooper University Hospital has said that there was no change in the condition of two surviving triplets – 11-year-old Natalie Tezsla remained in stable condition while 11-year-old Sophie Tezsla remained in critical condition. The girls are the daughters of a New Jersey State Police trooper. A total of 17 students were injured in the 8 a.m. crash at the intersection of Route 528 and Old York Road after the bus was struck by a dump truck.
Toxicology blood samples have been taken from both Tieman and the driver of the dump truck, Michael Caporale, 38, of New Egypt, but no charges have been filed to date.
As a father, I cannot imagine what the Tezsla family is going through and my thoughts and prayers go out to them. If this accident was the result of someone else’s negligence, I hope that person is brought to justice and the family receives the compensation they deserve.