High school students injured when bus strikes overpass

A charter bus carrying teenagers returning from a spring break trip Sunday night struck a bridge overpass on Long Island, seriously injuring two passengers and mangling the entire length of the top of the bus.  At least 40 people had some injuries in the horrific looking crash.

Both of the seriously injured victims are 17-year-old girls who remain in the hospital. The remainder of the injured were treated and released.

The crash happened shortly after 9 p.m. on the Southern State Parkway in Lakeview, according to New York State Police.  Buses and trucks are not permitted on the road.  The bus was about 4 feet taller than the overpass it hit.

The bus, owned by Journey Bus Line, was traveling from John F. Kennedy International Airport, to the Walt Whitman Mall in Huntington, Suffolk County.  The driver was using a non-commercial GPS device that did not warn him about the height hazards on the road.

Video shows teenagers sitting and standing outside of the white damaged bus, some draped in blankets, as firefighters inspected the wreckage. Multiple ambulances and firetrucks responded to the scene.

The 38 students from various Long Island high schools, along with five chaperones, had just returned from John F. Kennedy International Airport and were heading to a shopping mall to meet up with parents, police said.

Police said the driver, Troy Gaston, 43, of Bethlehem, Penn. was being evaluated and did not seem to be familiar with commercial vehicle restrictions on the parkway.  Police say he has a valid commercial vehicle driver's license.  Tests showed no alcohol in his system.  Drug tests were pending.

The National Transportation Safety Board was notified and this investigation does not meet their response criteria.  They are monitoring the case.

The minimum clearance on the parkway is 7 feet, 10 inches and accidents involving vehicles striking overpasses is not uncommon on the parkway. In 2017, there were reports that an electronic alarm system would be installed on the parkway to warn drivers of vehicles too high for the overpass.

 

Below is a list of passengers on the bus at the time of the crash:
  
 Hannah Bailin, 17, of Huntington Station
 Matthew Baker, 17, of Huntington Station
 Christian Bellissimo, 16, of Huntington
 Reid Bellistri, 17, of Huntington
 Kerri Lynn Benejan, 41, of Islandia
 Lauren Berg, 16, of Huntington
 Erin Bonitz, 17, of Huntington
 Christina Brillante, 17, of Huntington
 Erik Bruckbauer, 41, of Smithtown
 Henry Cartwright, 17, of Huntington
 Katerinne Coto, 18, of Huntington Station
 Anna Crockett, 17, of Huntington
 Peter Crugnale, 52, of Nesconset
 James Crugnale, 16, of Nesconset
 Christopher Diaz, 17, of Huntington Station
 Georgia English, 17, Huntington
 Cameron Fehrs, 17, of Huntington
 Sara Frawley, 17, of Huntington
 Hailey Gallagher, 18, of Mastic
 Paul Katigbak, 16, of Huntington Station
 Sophia Lacentra, 17, of Halesite
 Paige Lennon, 17, of Huntington
 Sophia Martinez, 18, of Huntington
 Jerry Mata, 17, of Huntington Station
 Cameron Mills, 16, of Huntington
 Samantha Maixner, 17, of Huntington Station
 Ryan Rivera, 18, of Huntington
 Morgan Oh, 18, of Halesite
 Thomas Peer, 17, of Huntington
 Cailan Polishook, 17, of Halesite
 Matthew Quinn, 16, of Huntington
 Samantha Sgrizzi, 17, of Huntington
 Alyssa Sorensen, 16, of Huntington Station
 Dominick Stanley, 16, of Huntington
 Charles Sze, 17, of Halesite
 Camille Tedeschi, 37, of Huntington Station
 Lianna Dechiaro, 17, of Huntington
 Max Gordon, 17, of Huntington Bay
 Amelia Maggio, 18, of Halesite
 Sylvia Belanger, 53, of Huntington Station
 Mia Breitbarth, 16, of Huntington
 Arashdeep Singh, 17, of Huntington Station
 Adriana Scrpati, 16, of Huntington

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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