Woman charged after disabled six-year-old girl died on school bus
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A woman in New Jersey has been charged with manslaughter after a six-year-old disabled girl choked to death in her care.
Amanda Davila, 27, a bus monitor from New Jersey, was arrested earlier this week after the girl’s airway got blocked off via a harness she had fastened.
The incident took place while Fajr Williams, daughter of Wali Williams and Najmah Nash, had been travelling to an extended school year program at Clermont Elementary School in Franklin Township, New Jersey.
According to Somerset County Prosecutor John McDonald’s office, the girl was physically strapped into her wheelchair via a harness by Davilia — the bus’ designated monitor.
The six-year-old was situated at the back of the vehicle, while the 27-year-old herself sat towards the front, where she was using a phone and wearing earbud headphones, according to law enforcement.
An investigation into the incident learned that the bus monitor was in violation of policies and procedures by using her phone.
NBC News reports that the child was sitting in her wheelchair for the ride to school, but a series of bumps in the road caused her to slump over.
Authorities say that the 4-point harness securing her to the chair then tightened around her neck. The result was that Williams’ airways were eventually blocked.
Authorities were then called to the school and when officers arrived, they reportedly performed CPR on the child before she was taken to a nearby hospital.
McDonald’s office stated that after the girl arrived at the intensive care unit, she was later pronounced dead.
Speaking to NYTV, William’s father, Wali said: “For these types of bus companies servicing children that’s handicapped, they need to know that when they take that job, they have lives in their hands.”
He then stated: “The most important thing is that we want justice for Fajr.
“I am picturing her fighting. She can’t speak, she can’t defend herself. She cannot take the things off her neck.”
Speaking to NBC New York, her mother, Nash, said: “She was the sweetest kid you'll ever meet. She had the sweetest little laugh, little dimples and she just endured so much in her six years.
"To be taken away from us in such a way, that had nothing to do with her condition,” she added.
Following the fatal incident, Davila has since been arrested and charged with second-degree manslaughter and second-degree child endangerment.
Fox News reports that the New Brunswick resident is currently booked into the Somerset County Jail and is pending a detention hearing.