Eight-month-old Angelie Paredes was in her stroller on July 30 when a jitney jumped the curb on Boulevard East in West New York and knocked down a lamppost onto the stroller, killing the child. The driver was charged with reckless driving and death by auto.
Since then Angelie’s parents, who are North Bergen residents, have advocated for regulations on jitney operators to ensure that the same thing doesn’t happen to others.
Now they have filed a lawsuit against the driver of the jitney involved in the accident, as well as the company that employed him and owned the vehicle. According to reports, the lawsuit seeks an unspecified amount in damages and claims that the driver was speeding and using his cell phone at the time of the crash.
Legally, jitneys were exempt from regulations imposed on buses and other forms of transportation. As a result of the accident, local and state officials drafted a law imposing stronger regulations on jitney owners and drivers. The law, passed earlier this year, is known as “Angelie’s Law.”
The law provides stricter guidelines for owners and operators, penalties for violations, and creates a telephone hotline for complaints. It specifically bars drivers from several unsafe practices including using a cell phone while behind the wheel.
Additional components of the law will allow authorities to draw blood samples from drivers involved in serious accidents.
A framed copy of the law was presented to Angelie’s parents at a ceremony in North Bergen Town Hall on Jan. 30, exactly six months after the accident. --Art Schwartz