First legal action filed in NJ Turnpike bus crash that killed two

NEW BRUNSWICK – The first litigation was filed Friday in connection with the Aug. 9 bus crash on the New Jersey Turnpike in Woodbridge in which two people were killed and three others were seriously injured.

Yamara Kiyanitza, the daughter of Cecilia Kiyanitza who died in the crash, has gone to Superior Court in Middlesex County to ask that Megabus, the operator of the double-decker bus, preserve all evidence from the crash, including the bus, the driver's cellphone, the bus’s inspection and maintenance records, dash cam video and all monitoring data.

Kiyanitza is also seeking the identity of the driver, named only as John Doe in the litigation, whose identity has not been released by authorities.

Her "only knowledge of how this incident allegedly occurred is based upon news reports," court papers say. "Law enforcement has provided no details to (Kiyantiza) regarding the details of the crash."

She is also seeking an order to gain "immediate access" to the bus.

Kiyanitza, represented by Somerville attorney Ed Rebeneck, intends to file a lawsuit against those responsible for the crash.

Cecilia Kiyanitza, 66, of Deptford in Gloucester County, was a passenger on the double-decker bus operated by Megabus on its way from New York to Philadelphia on the Turnpike near milepost 93.2 in Woodbridge at about 6:53 p.m. Aug. 9.

State police say the bus was traveling south in the left lane of the Turnpike's outer roadway and a Ford F-150 pickup truck was in the left center lane next to the bus. A preliminary investigation indicates the bus driver apparently lost control of the bus and struck the pickup truck, state police said.

The bus then went off the road to the right, struck the guardrail and overturned onto the entrance ramp to the Thomas Edison Service Area, state police said.

Cecilia Kiyanitza was flown by helicopter to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick where she died.

Also killed in the crash was 59-year-old Cheryl Johnson, of The Bronx.

The driver of the bus, a 56-year-old Westville man, also suffered serious injuries. The driver of the pickup truck was not injured, state police said.

Two passengers suffered serious injuries, 14 others suffered non-life-threatening injuries and four passengers were not injured in the crash, state police said.

A preliminary hearing on Yamara Kiyanitza's motion is set for Thursday before Superior Court Judge Alberto Rivas.


Mike Deak is a reporter for To get unlimited access to his articles on Somerset and Hunterdon counties, please subscribe or activate your di

This article originally appeared on NJ Turnpike bus crash: Legal action filed against Megabus