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FORT LEE, N.J. — A 16-year-old boy was killed Friday night after he stuck his head outside a double-decker party bus and struck the underside of a highway overpass.

Daniel Fernandez was with 65 other teens in a party bus headed towards a Sweet 16 party in New Jersey. The bus was crossing the George Washington Bridge from New York when Fernandez stuck his head out of an emergency hatch located in the roof of the bus, and his head hit the Fletcher Avenue Underpass.

The security guard on the bus says he told the teens, multiple times, to quit messing with the hatch. “I told them not to open the hatch, like three or four times, but kids, they don’t understand,” said 41-year-old Alex Franco.

Franco says that the incident happened when he walked downstairs to tell the driver it was getting too hot in the bus. That’s when he said he heard people screaming and ran back upstairs to see what happened and saw Fernandez laying on the floor covered in blood.

“I saw him on the floor,” said Franco. “His face was like, no teeth.”

Fernandez was rushed to Hackensack Medical Center were he was pronounced dead on arrival with severe head trauma.  There was no alcohol being served on the bus, and according to Franco, “If they drink, I don’t know.” He also said that the teens were all searched for booze before they boarded.

On Saturday, hundreds of people showed up for a candlelight vigil at St. Francis Prep and shared stories about the popular student. “He was an adorable, low-key kid, with a sweet smile,” said Jane Lynch, Fernandez’s English teacher. “Kids loved him. He had lots of friends, and was popular with the girls.”

New York Daily News has a couple pictures from the night of the incident, including this one of Fernandez that was reportedly taken minutes before the accident. As is normally the case when people die doing something really dumb, there are a lot of comments regarding Fernandez being a “Darwin Award Nominee,”  along with numerous “losing your head” type jokes.

I just have a hard time joking about dead kids — even if their death was a result of their own stupidity. Mainly because I remember some of the stuff I did as a teen that keep me awake at night when thinking of my own kids. Teens just don’t understand their own mortality and common sense often times vacates the premises when they are surrounded by their peers. I know, for a fact, that the biggest factor that ensured a lot of us made it out of our teen years was sheer, blind luck.

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Comments


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  • MyHovercraftIsFullofEels

    When I was 19 I was almost decapitated by an electric wire or something. On the way to a party, I was standing up the back of a jeep holding on to the roll bar. My friend said something so I bent my head down. Just as I did, my hair was caught in something and a huge patch ripped out. Turned out it was the twisted wires dangling low over the road ( we saw the next day, you know cause my hair was hanging from it). Not my only near death experience, but one that definitely made me change my behavior.

  • While it’s a tragedy.
    It was a result of his own stupidity and arrogance. Not to speak ill of the dead, but IF he was told MULTIPLE times … then he should’ve listened.
    Also, I’ve only been to NYC once and I wouldn’t so much as open the window for some freshair on the Washington Bridge let alone open an escape hatch and put my HEAD through it.

    Sorry for his family though..

  • Yeah, I can’t judge this kid–I did stupid stuff at his age too. Most people do. He was probably caught up in the moment, feeling exhilarated from the party bus and the impending birthday party. At least he wasn’t decapitated…that would have made the situation even more traumatic for the kids on the bus.

  • Wolf_of_Mars

    When I was 17, I had built a very high performance ’68 Olds Cutlass S convertible… I just HAD to test it out by going uphill @ 125+ mph & crossing another road at the top of the hill in the air. Did it, but toasted the entire undercarriage when I landed. Teenaged stupidity can not only be dangerous, but, expensive, too!

  • Wolf_of_Mars

    And NO, I didn’t have an air-horn that played “Dixie.” LOL!

  • kimbev69

    Why wouldn’t u open the window? And you feel bad for his family but not him how sad I hope your kids never do anything stupid

  • JohnQknowitall

    I don’t think anyone really has a grasp on the mortality and the finality of death/serious injury.

    When my parents hear me say that I was the best teenager possible they roll their eyes in amazement, wave their hands in a way that signifies their agreement with the statement, and the snappy “Yeah, RIGHT!” that shows their pride. In honesty I got through school with great grades, but I have no idea how I am still alive after several situations – one included car roof surfing (the skin on my cheek grew back nicely with no more zits on that side).

    Thinking of my nieces and nephews doing this kind of shit makes me queazy.

    I really have to wonder if there was only one security guard monitoring 65 socially pupating teenagers. I will bet everything is legal, but man 65 teenagers must be worse than a short handed day care handling only the 1 day to 3 year old crowd. This poor kid’s family… make me ache a little. They should be yelling at him to do his homework right about now.

  • What a horrible way to go. This happened on “Six Feet Under” as I recall.

  • Steven Q

    This is so sad, my cousin actually knew the kid and is taking it pretty hard, their are already a couple of Facebook pages mocking his death..

  • Chinchillazilla

    I feel awful for everyone involved. That trauma is going to really suck.

  • JohnQknowitall

    How did you explain that to your parents?

  • JohnQknowitall

    I remember the episode a few girlfriends out celebrating a finalized divorce. She was killed by a low hanging sign.

  • Snickering x Hydra

    A good many of us survived adolescence because of “Sheer, blind luck.”

    Isn’t that the truth! There have been several times where I might have made the obituaries, or the local news – probably not the Dreamin’Demon, though. Bummer.

  • MyHovercraftIsFullofEels

    I didn’t have to; I was already living on my own then. My parent’s house was 18 = GTFO. But I did end up with one of those 90s haircuts, you know 1/2 & 1/2, long on top, shaved underneath.

  • JohnQknowitall

    Worse than the hair pulling out… the 80s what were they thinking?

  • Athena

    I bet this put quite the damper in what I’m sure was slated to be the best Sweet 16 party ever. Sad all around. One dead kid, 64 traumatized kids, a couple of shaken up adults, x number of sad and disappointed kids back at the party, x amount of adults who spent a ton of money on a party that got ruined… A ton of people can be impacted by a split second of recklessness.

  • Years ago, a bunch of friends and I were snowmobiling at night on unknown trails. As we were going up and down the different paths, a friend found barb wire. It embedded in his plastic face visor. It snapped and some of it wrapped around his snowmobile suit. . . He was lucky the top wire hit his visor where it did, and the bottom wire went under the sled, getting caught in the runners. If either of the wires would have been set up differently, he probably would have been dead based upon where the wires would have hit and the speed at which he was going.

  • I was teaching my older sister how to ride a motorcycle (suzuki SP250) We had a path around the property and one corner was around another field separated by 4 strands of barbwire. I was watching her go around and she hit the throttle instead of the front brake. This scared her and she clamped harder, so she went faster. She hit the barbwire and went through it. To this day I can’t figure out how she made it through without nothing but rash on her legs. None of the strands broke, and she had nothing but roadrash on her legs. I tried to figure it out. I had to ride the motorcycle through that field to a gate to get out. She never got back on another motorcycle after that.

  • Holy crap, I’m amazed at how many people here can empathize with this kid. I’m only 20 and can say I’ve never done anything completely stupid or life threatening. I like rollercoasters – that’s about as much thrill-seeking as I do. In fact, I was always the one in high school telling people that what they were doing was dumb & dangerous. My friends would get into cars drunk, but me? I turned down going to parties if there wasn’t a sober ride. I had a HS bf wanting to do donuts in an icy parking lot with me in the car and told him hell no. Call me a loser or whatever, but I apparently have a good head on my shoulders, unlike this kid. (That was intentional.) I can’t feel bad for him, ESPECIALLY after being yelled at multiple times to leave the fire escape alone. I do feel bad for the parents and the people who had to witness the consequence of his stupidity, that’d be horrifying.

  • captaingrumpy

    I couldn’t work out how the hatch cover was not damaged if it was that low at the overpass.?????

  • JGo555

    *Imitating Forrest Gump* My momma said to not put things out of the window of the car.

  • JGo555

    Toddlers can climb but the can’t reach things like a vehicle hatch, so that party would’ve been under way if the bus would’ve been full of toddlers.

  • JGo555

    I’m in the boat of the kids that are like you. Except I didn’t drink. Not even if allowed. Never did drugs, never smoked a cigarrette in my life.
    The parental unit thought I was horrible… I didn’t even fucking date (but not for lack of wanting/being ugly)… nowadays, they know they hit the lottery with me & how quiet I was.

  • All around awful, and not something I can make fun of. I understand why people do, but I just can’t. He looked like a nice kid, he made a horrible mistake and it cost he and his family dearly. I am truly confused as to when it became common for such huge parties for birthdays though? Is this a normal thing these days, if so, my kids are going to be sadly disappointed.

  • LadyLeopard

    I’m in that same boat. I didn’t even /have/ rules about things because I never needed them. But then I’m an Aspie (Asperger’s Syndrome) so I suspect my seat in the boat is largely due to that factor.

    Thus I have a hard time summoning up sympathy for kids who do something stupid and get their asses maimed/killed after being warned multiple times not to do something patently dangerous. Especially if they were sober at the time without even the ‘excuse’ of being drunk.

  • neenaP

    Shouldn’t that be locked?, and the chaperons should have stopped him, awful story.

  • CT

    Is it wrong that I’m laughing so much over this?

  • I was a boring child as well. My dad’s done way more drugs than I ever had. I think he was disappointed I wasn’t more a wild child…that he would understand.

  • JGo555

    No,it means you know the evil behind the chubby face & grubby hands.

  • newstarshipsmell

    Emergency exit. Locked? See any problem there?

  • Hi. We are sad, but we need to honor Dan’s memory. I have created a PERMANENT memorial page for Dan. I did this for YOU; the friends, family and loved ones of Dan. – http://www.facebook.com/#!/DanielFernandezMemorial
    I hope you like it. Please post your positive thoughts, feelings, memories and photos, videos and music about Dan for his family and all his friends… This will be a PERMANENT place for everyone to remember Dan. Are you ready to post something on Dan’s memorial page?

  • newstarshipsmell

    Sorry, but public, anyone-can-post-to online memorials for someone who died by their own tragic lack of judgement are likely to attract trolls like flies to shit. I certainly wouldn’t recommend advertising it on sites that revel in the macabre, as that’s just about begging for the sorts of attention you don’t want. But have fun moderating it. Good luck and best wishes.

  • Operation Plumbbob

    Problem here is.. he didn’t open a window. He opened the emergency hatch on a double-decker bus and stuck his head out while it was passing under a bridge. If he’d just opened a window this article probably wouldn’t have made it to DD.

  • kimbev69

    I know it was the window I was replying to the comment above