High school students injured when bus strikes overpass
A charter bus carrying teenagers returning from a spring break trip Sunday night struck a bridge overpass on Long Island, seriously injuring two passengers and mangling the entire length of the top of the bus. At least 40 people had some injuries in the horrific looking crash.
Both of the seriously injured victims are 17-year-old girls who remain in the hospital. The remainder of the injured were treated and released.
The crash happened shortly after 9 p.m. on the Southern State Parkway in Lakeview, according to New York State Police. Buses and trucks are not permitted on the road. The bus was about 4 feet taller than the overpass it hit.
The bus, owned by Journey Bus Line, was traveling from John F. Kennedy International Airport, to the Walt Whitman Mall in Huntington, Suffolk County. The driver was using a non-commercial GPS device that did not warn him about the height hazards on the road.
Video shows teenagers sitting and standing outside of the white damaged bus, some draped in blankets, as firefighters inspected the wreckage. Multiple ambulances and firetrucks responded to the scene.
The 38 students from various Long Island high schools, along with five chaperones, had just returned from John F. Kennedy International Airport and were heading to a shopping mall to meet up with parents, police said.
Police said the driver, Troy Gaston, 43, of Bethlehem, Penn. was being evaluated and did not seem to be familiar with commercial vehicle restrictions on the parkway. Police say he has a valid commercial vehicle driver's license. Tests showed no alcohol in his system. Drug tests were pending.
The National Transportation Safety Board was notified and this investigation does not meet their response criteria. They are monitoring the case.
The minimum clearance on the parkway is 7 feet, 10 inches and accidents involving vehicles striking overpasses is not uncommon on the parkway. In 2017, there were reports that an electronic alarm system would be installed on the parkway to warn drivers of vehicles too high for the overpass.
Below is a list of passengers on the bus at the time of the crash:
Hannah Bailin, 17, of Huntington Station
Matthew Baker, 17, of Huntington Station
Christian Bellissimo, 16, of Huntington
Reid Bellistri, 17, of Huntington
Kerri Lynn Benejan, 41, of Islandia
Lauren Berg, 16, of Huntington
Erin Bonitz, 17, of Huntington
Christina Brillante, 17, of Huntington
Erik Bruckbauer, 41, of Smithtown
Henry Cartwright, 17, of Huntington
Katerinne Coto, 18, of Huntington Station
Anna Crockett, 17, of Huntington
Peter Crugnale, 52, of Nesconset
James Crugnale, 16, of Nesconset
Christopher Diaz, 17, of Huntington Station
Georgia English, 17, Huntington
Cameron Fehrs, 17, of Huntington
Sara Frawley, 17, of Huntington
Hailey Gallagher, 18, of Mastic
Paul Katigbak, 16, of Huntington Station
Sophia Lacentra, 17, of Halesite
Paige Lennon, 17, of Huntington
Sophia Martinez, 18, of Huntington
Jerry Mata, 17, of Huntington Station
Cameron Mills, 16, of Huntington
Samantha Maixner, 17, of Huntington Station
Ryan Rivera, 18, of Huntington
Morgan Oh, 18, of Halesite
Thomas Peer, 17, of Huntington
Cailan Polishook, 17, of Halesite
Matthew Quinn, 16, of Huntington
Samantha Sgrizzi, 17, of Huntington
Alyssa Sorensen, 16, of Huntington Station
Dominick Stanley, 16, of Huntington
Charles Sze, 17, of Halesite
Camille Tedeschi, 37, of Huntington Station
Lianna Dechiaro, 17, of Huntington
Max Gordon, 17, of Huntington Bay
Amelia Maggio, 18, of Halesite
Sylvia Belanger, 53, of Huntington Station
Mia Breitbarth, 16, of Huntington
Arashdeep Singh, 17, of Huntington Station
Adriana Scrpati, 16, of Huntington
The Associated Press contributed to this report.