A New York high school student was killed Friday evening after he stuck his head out of a moving double-decker party bus and struck an overpass, officials said.
Sixteen-year-old Daniel Fernandez and dozens of other teens had boarded the bus at their school in Queens and were headed toward a sweet-16 birthday party in Garfield, N.J., said Steve Coleman, spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
The bus had just left the George Washington Bridge at about 6:30 p.m. when Fernandez stuck his head out of the escape hatch on the ceiling and hit the underside of the overpass, Coleman said. He was pronounced dead at a local medical center.
Fernandez was preparing to begin his junior year at St. Francis Preparatory School in Queens, according to a statement on the school’s website.
The security guard on the bus told the New York Daily News that he had warned the teens multiple times not to tamper with the rooftop hatch.
“I told them not to open the hatch, like three or four times, but kids, they don’t understand,” said the guard, Alex Franco.
After a final warning, Franco said, he headed downstairs to tell the driver that the bus was getting too warm.
“Then I heard two guys screaming, ‘Oh my God, oh my God,’” he told the Daily News.
Just hours after the incident, hundreds of posts had been left on a Facebook page created for Fernandez. Many remembered a young man who was always the life of the party and who liked to make others laugh. Some recalled the horror of his death.
“RIP dan i never understood why horrible things happen to such nice people, to witness this tragedy was a nightmare and horror for us all,” wrote one person. “My heart goes out to his family and to everyone who was effected by this. RIP.”
“there are no words that can be used to describe how much you will be missed,” wrote another.