Deadly Newark bus crash: Prosecutors viewing video for clues
NEWARK — Investigators are reviewing video from surveillance cameras that captured Friday's fatal bus collision in this city's downtown.
A 70-year-old driver and a female passenger died in the crash, while 16 other passengers were injured, some critically. The 6 a.m. wreck was caused by an NJ Transit bus T-boning another at the intersection of Raymond Boulevard and Broad Street. The impact left one bus torn in half.
Rescue workers used ladders to get passengers out of the bus, carefully lifting stretchers thorough broken windows.
At a news conference Friday afternoon, Newark Mayor Ras Baraka did not offer many details about the incident.
The dead driver was identified as Joseph Barthelus, a Union Township resident. Authorities have not yet identified the woman passenger.
Six passengers remained in the hospital late Friday afternoon, one in critical condition the rest in serious condition, prosecutors said.
The mayor would not comment on reports that Barthelus, who was driving an empty bus, sped through the intersection against a red light.
Essex County Prosecutor's Office Chief Assistant Prosecutor Thomas Fennelly said the investigation is a complicated process involving interviewing witnesses and passengers in addition to reviewing video.
Baraka said Barthelus had left the Ironbound section of Newark to begin his regular run on the 59 Line.
He was traveling west on Raymond Boulevard when he struck a Clifton-to-Irvington 13 Line bus driven by James Roberts headed north on Broad Street. Roberts' bus had 17 passengers on board.
NJ Transit Interim Executive Director Dennis Martin said both Barthelus and Roberts were "in good standing" with NJ Transit.
Barthelus had been a driver for NJ Transit for 27 years.
"Our organization is in mourning today," Martin said.