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Driver in Deadly School Bus Crash Allegedly Made Odd Maneuver

Driver may have missed exit, attempted illegal U-turn
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted May 22, 2018 7:36 PM CDT
In a May 17, 2018 file photo, emergency personnel examine a school bus after it collided with a dump truck, injuring multiple people, on Interstate 80 in Mount Olive, NJ.   (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

(Newser) – NJ Advance Media was shown Department of Transportation video of the deadly school bus crash in New Jersey last week, and it calls the bus driver's actions before the accident "hard to understand." While making what should have been a simple merge from Route 206 onto I-80 west, the driver allegedly instead made a sudden, sharp left onto and almost perpendicularly across I-80; a source says he was heading toward a cut-through to the eastbound lanes. Those areas are reserved for use by emergency vehicles and authorities, but drivers sometimes also use them to make illegal U-turns on the highway. As the bus driver cut across the highway, a dump truck was approaching; it swerved but was unable to avoid a collision, which left a teacher and a 10-year-old student dead and injured everyone else on the bus, some of them critically, per NBC Philadelphia.

NJ 101.5 previously reported that, per DOT officials who saw the traffic camera footage that was shot from an overpass, the driver appeared to miss his exit and then cross three lanes of traffic in an attempt to make a U-turn. NJ Advance Media notes that the bus should have exited I-80 to Route 206 north and then taken the first exit; it was taking students and teachers on a field trip to Waterloo Village along with two other school buses, which both arrived safely at the destination. Somehow, the driver ended up on Route 206 south and then back on I-80. The driver's son has been speaking out, telling CBS New York on Monday that his father, who is 77, had not made an illegal U-turn and telling NJ.com on Tuesday that his father is a good driver. But multiple outlets including Patch report that the driver has a long history of traffic violations and other driving issues. (Read more bus accident stories.)

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