A nonverbal six-year-old girl with special needs died after choking on her wheelchair Harness on a school bus. Now, a 27-year-old working as the school bus monitor at the time faces manslaughter and endangerment charges.
Amanda Davila of New Brunswick, New Jersey, was identified as the accused school bus monitor, per NBC News. The office of Somerset County Prosecutor John McDonald revealed the fatal incident occurred on Monday (Jul. 17). At the time, six-year-old Fajr Williams was on her way to an extended school year program.
“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,” her mother Namjah Nash Williams told NBC New York.
Namjah W. added that the family will do their best to prevent a repeat accident.
“To be taken away from us in such a way, that had nothing to do with her conditon. This will never happen again if I have any say so.”
Father Of Girl Says She Didn’t Have Oxygen In Her Brain For About 40 Minutes
An investigation found that Davila had secured Fajr’s wheelchair at the bus’s rear after she boarded at 9 a.m. She was reportedly nonverbal and could not walk due to a rare chromosome disorder called Emanuel syndrome. She was reportedly born with the condition. Though Fajr could not speak, Namjah W. told The New York Times her daughter made “baby coos and happy sounds.”
While Amanda Davila sat the six-year-old at the back, she reportedly sat toward the front of the bus and used her cell phone while wearing earbud headphones. Fajr’s dad, Wali Williams, told NBC New York that his daughter “did not have oxygen in her brain for almost 40 minutes.”
“Do you understand the image that we got in our head of our daughter the last time that we seen her? What we had to go through,” Williams said.
According to the investigation results, the girl choked after the four-point harness securing her to her wheelchair cut off her oxygen supply. Her body had reportedly shifted due to bumps in the roads on the drive to school.
It’s unclear who found the girl unresponsive first. However, her school Claremont Elementary School–about 15 minutes from Fajr’s home, called emergency officials. Once they arrived, they performed CPR before transporting her to a local hospital. Unfortunately, the six-year-old later passed away.
School Bus Monitor Amanda Davila Charged With Manslaughter And Endangerment
Police arrested Amanda Davila on Wednesday (Jul. 19) at the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office. Her official charges are second-degree manslaughter and second-degree endangering the welfare of a child.
There was no incident at the time of arrest, per multiple reports. She was booked into Somerset County Jail while awaiting a Thursday detention hearing.
The county prosecutor’s office has said Amanda Davila violated her employment’s “policies and procedures” by using her phone and earbuds.
This is a developing story.