Security Guard Warned Teens Before Freak Bus Accident: Report

The boy was on a double-decker bus with about 65 other teenagers headed to New Jersey for a sweet sixteen party

Sunday, Sep 2, 2012  |  Updated 11:00 AM EDT
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A 16-year-old boy was killed after sticking his head out of a party bus and hitting an overpass just after crossing the George Washington Bridge Friday, authorities say. Gus Rosendale reports from New Jersey.

NBC 4 New York

A 16-year-old boy was killed after sticking his head out of a party bus and hitting an overpass just after crossing the George Washington Bridge Friday, authorities say. Gus Rosendale reports from New Jersey.

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A security guard working on the double-decker bus where a 16-year-old boy was killed when he stuck his head out of a double-decker bus said he warned the teens not to play with the roof hatch on the top of the bus.

Daniel Fernandez was killed was killed after sticking his head out of a party bus and hitting an overpass just after crossing the George Washington Bridge into New Jersey Friday, authorities said.

UPDATE: Vigil for Teen Killed in Freak Bus Accident

He was part of a group of 65 teenagers headed to New Jersey for a sweet sixteen party, according to Port Authority spokesman Al Della Fave. They boarded the bus in Queens, and crossed over the George Washington Bridge to New Jersey shortly after 6:30 p.m.

As the bus exited the upper level to head toward Interstate 95, the boy opened the top hatch of the bus and stuck his head out, said Della Fave. His head struck the underside of the Fletcher Avenue overpass, causing extreme trauma.

Fernandez was rushed to Hackensack University Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

Alex Franco, a security guard on the bus, told the Daily News that he had warned the teens to leave the hatch alone.

"I told them not to open the hatch, like three or four times, but kids, they don't understand," he said.

Franco said he went downstairs to tell the driver that it was getting too hot.

"It was very hot. Everybody was dancing. Two, five minutes I was downstairs," he said. "Then I heard two guys screaming, 'Oh, my God, oh, my God.'"

No other physical injuries were reported, but the other teens on board the bus appeared to suffer severe emotional trauma. 

The double-decker bus was operated by Designer Limousine. There was no immediate comment from the company. 

Fernandez attended St. Francis Preperatory High School in Fresh Meadows, Queens, and was described Saturday by his English teacher as "beloved."

She says he was an "adorable, low-key kid" with a sweet smile and lots of friends. Many of those friends expressed their grief on Twitter, using hashtags like #PrepFam and #RIPDan to share their memories of the teen.

"rip dan. no matter how far we all are we will always be a family," Alexandria Villafane tweeted.

"Playin my heart out on this field today for dan #prepfam," tweeted Matthew Walsh.

Police are continuing to investigate.

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