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New Jersey teen killed after sticking head out of party bus

By Khara Lewin
updated 10:28 PM EDT, Mon September 3, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Bus company spokesman says there was no alcohol aboard
  • The victim's head struck the underside of an overpass near the George Washington Bridge
  • The bus departed from Queens, New York, and was loaded with 65 teenagers

New York (CNN) -- A New Jersey teenager was killed when his head hit a highway overpass after he apparently stuck it out of a party bus near the George Washington Bridge, which connects Manhattan with New Jersey over the Hudson River.

Daniel Fernandez, a 16-year-old resident of Sayreville, died Friday evening on his way to a sweet 16 party, according to Port Authority spokesman Steve Coleman.

He was on the top level of a double-decker bus when he apparently stuck his head out of an emergency hatch in the roof, Coleman said.

His head then struck the underside of an overpass, he said.

The incident occurred after the New Jersey-bound bus departed Queens, New York -- loaded with 65 teenagers -- and had just crossed the George Washington Bridge.

16-year-old Daniel Fernandez, shown on his Twitter profile, lived in Sayreville, New Jersey.
16-year-old Daniel Fernandez, shown on his Twitter profile, lived in Sayreville, New Jersey.

Off-duty emergency medical technician Leon Tyrone McKivor, 52, said he approached the scene to offer his assistance and escorted worried parents to a nearby police station where their children were waiting.

"One individual had on a blood soaked shirt that he refused to take off until police insisted that he change," McKivor told CNN. "A number of other individuals had blood all over them, as well."

CORRECTION
An earlier version of this article incorrectly identified the person whom off-duty emergency medical technician Leon Tyrone McKivor tried to console following a fatal accident on a bus in New York City. McKivor tried to console the mother of one of the girls who was on the bus.

McKivor said he tried to console the mother of one of the girls who was on the bus.

"She was just crying and crying and hugging me and thanking me," he said.

The horrific scene left several party-goers stunned, according to multiple posts on social media.

"Sitting here with your blood on my foot wishing this was all a bad dream," tweeted teenage party-goer Vicky Budz. "Can't sleep with you on my mind cause the more time goes on the more its settling in."

News of the incident spread quickly via the microblogging site Twitter, with over 500 tweets to the #staystrongdan hashtag within a few hours of the accident.

Fernandez was brought to Hackensack Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead, said hospital spokeswoman Nancy Radwin.

Coleman said the teen had suffered severe head trauma, but would not comment further.

The bus is touted online as "the largest custom made party bus in the country," according to Designer Transportation, which released a statement expressing sympathy for the teen's family.

"Our company cares about the well being of our patrons," the statement said.

Company spokesman Todd Shapiro said there was no alcohol aboard and that security had checked passengers beforehand.

CNN's Dominique Debucquoy-Dodley and Andrea Morocoima contributed to this report.

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