A school bus driver died in West Windsor yesterday after he drove off the road and struck a tree on Zaitz Farm Road, off of Old Trenton Road.
Ptl. Frank LaTorre said a preliminary investigation revealed that the driver, a 73-year-old male from Monroe, is believed to have suffered a medical issue that caused him to lose control of the bus at about 3:11 p.m.
The bus, which was carrying seven students from West Windsor-Plainsboro High School South, hit a tree branch and then struck another tree before coming to rest partially off the roadway.
Ptl. LaTorre said that after the accident, several of the students attempted to assist the driver, whose name was being withheld by police.
West Windsor Emergency Services and the Capital Health MICU arrived at the scene and attended the driver, who was then transported to the University Medical Center of Princeton at Plainsboro. He was pronounced dead a short time after arrival.
None of the students were seriously injured, although one 14-year-old reported pain in her wrist/hand area, but declined medical attention at the scene, said Ptl. LaTorre.
Also responding to the scene were West Windsor-Plainsboro School District Superintendent Dr. David Aderhold, the West Windsor Police Traffic and Detective bureaus and the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office Serious Collision Unit.
The accident was the second fatal crash in West Windsor that day. Early yesterday morning, a New York man was killed after debris that fell off a tractor trailer and caused him to drive off Route 1 and into a tree.
Update: The following comment was posted in the West Windsor Peeps forum on Facebook by Raj Datta regarding the accident.
Mr. Robert Johnson was our Angel. Around 3:05 p.m. I got a call from my daughter that their bus had hit a tree right before their stop. I happened to be home so walked over to see what was going on.
Found Mr. Johnson lying down with his feet still entangled by the pedals. Assisted him in freeing his legs up and try to hold him up while my mother-in-law tried to help as well. She suggested he might be diabetic. When I asked him, he responded back meekly that he was. My mom pulled a sugar packet out that I fed him. He was all blue with his eyes rolled.
Within minutes an officer showed up. I stayed by the driver’s seat as more officers and medics approached. Helped them get him on the stretcher so he could be transported to the nearest hospital. Left the scene after sharing info and details with another officer.
Fast forward 1.5 hrs, I took our puppy out for his walk and saw that News 12 and the 1st officer to respond were still around. Gave the news reporters a brief description of the experience. Decided to walk over to the officer to thank him, since there has been a lot of police hate lately. Told him how much we appreciate everything they do. He was such a gentleman. He thanked me for the help and then went on to tell me that the driver did not make it. My heart just sank and all I could see in front was me holding him up with his eye rolled and barely breathing.
Needless to say, I was devastated and am having a difficult time dealing with it. Mr. Johnson had a massive heart attack as he got to the hospital and never survived. Add to that, he had just buried his wife last week. He also has a daughter but she is out of touch.
Walking back, looking at the tree I could clearly see what Mr. Johnson did while he was fighting for his life from his previous attack. He made sure he slowed down and hit the tree at a minimal speed. He saved all the kids lives while fighting for his own (7 kids total).
I don’t want Mr Johnson’s loss to go unnoticed. I plan to follow up on his funeral and want the township to create a memorial on the tree he hit.
Please everyone, take a moment to thank Mr. Johnson’s blessed soul, who in his last moments made sure he saved the kids. RIP Mr Bus Driver 😇🚌