Fatalities Reported in School Bus, Dump Truck Crash in New Jersey

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A school bus on a field trip, carrying a packed bus filled with teachers and 5th grade students from Paramus, crashed on Route 80 yesterday.

At least one person was taken to St Joseph Medical Centre in Paterson, New Jersey, while several others were reportedly taken to nearby Hackettstown Medical Centre. Dozens of other children and adults were injured and taken to hospitals.

The bus was carrying students from East Brook Middle School in Paramus to Waterloo Village, a restored 19th century canal town, officials said.

The pupils of the fifth class went to Waterloo Village, historic sites, located about 5 miles from the scene of the accident.

Two officials briefed on the crash told ABC News that authorities are investigating whether the school bus driver made illegal U-turn before the deadly crash. "A lot of people (inside the bus) were screaming and they were like, hanging from their seat belts", he added.

Mount Olive Township is about 50 miles west of New York City.

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At East Brook Middle School, where a sign reads "A Great Place to Grow Up", parents gathered outside to collect their children. He told HLN on Thursday there were possible ejections in the crash.

Paramus school officials said the borough's schools would be open Friday and that crisis counselors would be on hand. The truck was registered to Mendez Trucking, of Belleville, and had "In God We Trust" emblazoned on the back of it. Mendez Trucking has about 40 drivers and trucks, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

A man at the front desk of a company connected to a license plate on the dump truck said it's not clear what happened, but he did confirm the driver left the facility Thursday morning and got into the accident. The company was fined $22,850 in 2016 for violating regulations on inspections, repairs and maintenance and post-crash drug and alcohol testing, according to the FMCSA.

The National Transportation Safety Board said via Twitter that it was "gathering information" on the crash.

"We thought it was just a drill and people were joking around", said student Alejandro Garcia.

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