Sixteen-year-old Daniel Fernandez of Sayreville, N.J., was found to be heavily inebriated when he was killed by a collision with an overpass while standing with his head through the roof hatch of a double-decker party bus more than one year ago.
According to a new report, the teen’s blood-alcohol level was 0.209 per cent, well over double the legal limit for adults. Said investigator John Pierotti Jr., "impairment contributed to the cause of the collision."
As intoxicated as Fernandez was, however, other factors also played a role in the tragedy. The bus driver had a history of driving-related license suspensions spanning three decades, and there was an outstanding warrant for his arrest as he drove the party bus that night. The warrant was for failing to appear in court after he was cited for driving with a suspended license.
There were also supposed to be at least two adult supervisors on the bus, which contained 64 teens on their way to New Jersey from St. Francis Preparatory School in Queens for a sweet 16 party.
Furthermore, Fernandez was never supposed to get through the roof hatch, which should have been locked. The safety bolt reportedly came undone when the bus rode over a bump, and many of the teens were taking turns sticking their heads through the opening.
Despite these apparent safety concerns, no criminal charges have been filed, and officials are primarily pointing the finger at alcohol consumption and poor judgement.
After the accident, Fernandez’s friends reportedly "were taking off their shirts and trying to stop the bleeding from the victim's face."
One girl at the scene tweeted, “Sitting here with your blood on my foot wishing this was all a bad dream. I love you so much Dan you were there for me till the last second.”
Fernandez was rushed to Hackensack University Medical Center immediately after the accident, but was pronounced dead on arrival.