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Police: Drugs, Alcohol Not Factor In Chesterfield Crash; Suit Filed

Tests have concluded that neither drugs nor alcohol played a role in a bus crash in Chesterfield that killed an 11-year-old girl.

Bus accident scene in Chesterfield
Bus Accident Scene in Chesterfield (Stacy Proebstle, Townsquare Media)

Burlington County Prosecutor Robert Bernardi and Chesterfield Township Police Chief Kyle Wilson announced the results Friday. They showed bus driver John Tieman and dump-truck driver Michael Caporale weren’t under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs at the time of the Feb. 16 crash.

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Eleven-year-old Isabelle Tezsla was killed, while her sisters, Sophie and Natalie, and 11-year-old Jonathan Zdybel were all hospitalized with serious injuries.

Police have issued motor vehicle citations to both drivers and to Caporale’s trucking company.

 

The prosecutor’s office says it will await the National Transportation Safety Board’s final report on the accident before it decides whether to file criminal charges.

Meanwhile, the Courier-Post reports that the parents of Isabelle, Sophie & Natalie have filed a lawsuit against Tieman and Caporale and their respective employers.

The lawsuit states that because of the various defendants’ “negligence and recklessness,” Sophie and Natalie had to witness their sister’s death.

“This case involves a heartbreaking, preventable tragedy in which an overloaded dump truck traveling at an excessive speed failed to avoid a school bus loaded with children that failed to observe oncoming traffic before attempting to cross a high-speed intersection,” the lawsuit states. The truck company, Herman’s Trucking of Wrightstown, was also cited for the truck being overweight and having an inadequate braking system.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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