A Woodside teenager who was killed on the way to a party on Friday was mourned at a private funeral service on Tuesday.
Daniel Fernandez, 16, the son of Jose and Maria Fernandez, was to have started his junior year at St. Francis Preparatory School in Fresh Meadows this week.
He was killed after allegedly opening an emergency hatch on the roof of a double-decked party bus, poking his head out and striking his head on a bridge overpass shortly after the bus crossed over the George Washington Bridge into New Jersey.
He died at Hackensack University Medical Center. More than 500 people attended his wake on Monday at Kearns Funeral Home in Rego Park.
Brother Leonard Conway, principal of St. Francis, said the school is offering support for the Fernandez family and Daniel’s friends.
“We are sharing in the grief and shock of the sudden death of this young student,” Conway said. “Our prayers are with him and his family.”
St. Francis will offer grief counseling when school reopens to those students who need it.
“When the family is ready, we’ll have some type of memorial program for Daniel,” Conway added.
Multiple published reports say the bus was headed to a Sweet 16 party in Garfield, New Jersey. Approximately 65 guests were on board.
Published reports said the teens had been warned repeatedly by security personnel on the bus not to open the hatch. One security official reportedly had gone down to tell the driver that the passengers were complaining that the interior of the bus had gotten too hot at the time of the accident.
No official statements have been given out as to whether there were other adult chaperones on board to supervise the activities.
The accident took place at approximately 6:45 p.m. as the bus passed under the Fletcher Avenue overpass in Fort Lee.
Fernandez’s friends began Tweeting accounts of the accident after it happened, when it became apparent that he had been seriously hurt.
Al Della Fave, spokesman for the Port Authority Police Department, said PA detectives are investigating the case and will forward their findings to the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office in New Jersey for review upon completion.
Liz Rhoades contributed to this story.