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5 injured, 2 seriously after tour bus crashes into tree in N.J.

Two patients were flown to hospitals after a tree branch broke off and entered the passenger compartment during the crash

By Anthony G. Attrino

PASSAIC COUNTY, N.J. — Five girls were hospitalized Tuesday afternoon when a chartered tour bus crashed into a tree branch hanging over a Passaic County road, authorities and the bus company operator said.

The injured were on the bus owned by Monsey Tours of Brooklyn, New York, that crashed about 3:15 p.m. on County Road 704 ( East Shore Road ) south of the Storms Island Road intersection in West Milford, police said.

“The bus was traveling south on East Shore Road when it struck a tree, causing one of the branches to break off and enter the passenger compartment of the bus,” West Milford police Chief Shannon Sommerville said in a statement.

Two girls were seriously injured. One was flown to St. Joseph’s University Medical Center in Paterson, while the other was flown to Hackensack University Medical Center in Bergen County.

Three other girls were taken to Chilton Medical Center in Pompton Plains with minor injuries.

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The parents of the injured have all been notified, Sommerville said. The conditions of the injured girls were not immediately available Wednesday morning.

Police said the bus sustained extensive front-end damage. The police chief did not say where the bus was headed at the time of the crash.

Isaac Lunger, a manager at Monsey Tours, said Wednesday the driver struck a low-hanging tree branch that entered the right, front corner of the bus.

“Our understanding is that he did not strike the tree, but rather the branch, which was hanging too low” due to recent storms, Lunger said. The bus driver was not injured and did not require medical treatment, he added.

No charges were filed, and the crash remains under investigation. East Shore Road was closed for several hours Tuesday as members of the West Milford Police Department, Passaic County Sheriff’s Office, and Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office investigated.

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