A bus monitor from New Jersey has been charged with manslaughter following the tragic death of a 6-year-old girl with special needs after a school bus ride.
Somerset County Prosecutor John P. McDonald announced that at around 9 a.m. on Monday, Franklin Township Police Department received a distress call about an unresponsive child. When officers arrived on the scene, they attempted to revive the 6-year-old girl with CPR until emergency services arrived and rushed her to a nearby hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
A joint investigation by detectives from the local police department and the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Major Crimes Unit revealed that the girl, who used a wheelchair, was a student at a local extended school year program. She had been transported from her home to the school on July 17 by bus.
27-year-old bus monitor, Amanda Davila, was responsible for securing the girl and her wheelchair at the rear of the bus. During the ride, several bumps in the road caused the child to lean over in her seat, resulting in the 4-point harness used to secure her tightening around her neck and obstructing her airway.
Investigators allege that Davila was seated at the front of the bus, violating policies and procedures by using a mobile phone and wearing earbuds in both ears.
As a result of the investigation, Davila was arrested on Wednesday and charged with second-degree manslaughter and second-degree endangering the welfare of a child. She is currently being held in Somerset County Jail awaiting a detention hearing.
The Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office is urging anyone with information regarding the incident to contact their Major Crimes Unit at 908-231-7100 or the Franklin Township Police at 732-873-5533.