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Charges pending NTSB report of New Jersey fatal accident

Prosecutors in Burlington County, New Jersey, are awaiting the final National Transportation Safety Board analysis on a school bus wreck before considering criminal charges. The scene of the accident was the intersection of Old York Road and Bordentown-Chesterfield Road in Chesterfield. One sixth-grade student was fatally injured in the wreck, and 16 others on the bus suffered injuries when a dump truck struck the bus.

National Transportation Safety Board reports have so far found that the Mack truck was hauling asphalt at 5 percent over acceptable weight limits. The truck hit the rear left axle of the elementary school bus, which sent the bus into a spin that ended when it struck a light pole. Both drivers were cited by police following the accident, and a third citation was issued against the dump truck's owner, Herman's Trucking Inc. Parents have filed a wrongful death suit seeking damages from the truck driver and the trucking company. 

The role of the NTSB in this matter, according to a spokesman for the agency, is merely to investigate the accident and "make safety recommendations to make sure it doesn't happen again." However, the final report will aid prosecutors in determining the necessity of criminal charges, and it may be used as expert testimony in a wrongful death suit filed by the parents of the fatally injured student.

Fault can be difficult to establish in car accidents, and both prosecutors and plaintiff's attorneys often seek expert testimony to help in proving negligence and recklessness. After fatal accidents, families are often left with the need to protect others from a similar fate.

Source: School Transportation News, "NTSB Plans to Release Final Report on Fatal N.J. School Bus Crash This Year," Michelle Fisher, March 19, 2013 

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