Two NJ Transit buses collide in Newark, officials say

Two commuter buses in Newark, New Jersey, collided Friday morning, killing two people, including one of the bus drivers, Newark Mayor Ras Baraka said.

It was just after 6 a.m. when a NJ Transit bus, heading west on Raymond Boulevard, struck another NJ Transit bus that was headed north on Broad Street, NJ Transit said. 

There were no passengers on the 59 Line bus traveling on Raymond Boulevard, but the driver was killed in the crash. A spokesman for NJ Transit identified the driver as Joseph Barthelus, a 27-year veteran with the agency.

There were 18 passengers on the 13 Line bus that was struck, and 14 people were taken to University Hospital, Newark. Baraka said while some people have been released, seven were in critical condition.

Jesy Garcia, 49, was identified as the passenger killed on the 13 Line bus, her daughter confirmed to NJ Advance Media.

“This is a tragic day for NJ Transit, for our employees and for our customers,” a spokesman for NJ Transit said during an afternoon news conference.

While officials wouldn’t comment on the investigation, only saying that it was in the beginning stages, the spokesman for NJ Transit said both bus drivers were in good standing and were supposed to be on the road at the time the crash occurred.

The spokesman identified the second bus driver as James Roberts, who has been with NJ Transit for 35 years. Roberts was released from the hospital on Friday, the spokesman said.

A spokeswoman for the Essex County prosecutor’s office, which is leading the investigation, said the case is “active and ongoing.” She said authorities are collecting witness statements as well as evidence from the scene, but would not speculate as to the “cause or manner” of the crash.