Six months to the day from when their little girl was killed in a horrific accident with an out of control commuter bus, Jairo Paredes and Maylin Hago met with legislative sponsors of the law created in their daughter’s name at a Commemoration Ceremony for “Angelie’s Law” today. Senator Nick Sacco, Senator Sandra Cunningham, Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto, Assemblywoman Angelica Jimenez, Assemblyman Charles Mainor and other local elected officials offered their heartfelt sympathies to the young North Bergen family and explained how “Angelie’s Law” seeks to prevent a horrific accident like this from ever happening again by creating new safeguards and regulations. The event was held in North Bergen Township Hall.
“It is so sad that it took the death of this young girl for enough momentum to build for us to be able to finally confront the problems presented by these buses,” said Senator Sacco. “However, it is very gratifying to see that Angelie’s death will not be in vain and that it has brought about meaningful change to improve public safety and hopefully prevent something as horrible as this from ever happening again.”
Sacco and the other legislative sponsors presented Jairo and Maylin with a framed copy of the “Angelie’s Law” legislation at the event. The bill was signed by the Governor at the end of the just completed legislative session. It takes several steps to better regulate the autobuses, sometimes called jitneys, which frequently traveled through Hudson County and surrounding areas with little oversight. The law establishes a Passenger Bill of Rights, creates a telephone complaint line, increases various penalties and fines, holds the owners of the bus companies more accountable for violations, provides guidelines for violations to be investigated by the state Attorney General and several other reforms designed to increase public safety. It specifically bars drivers from several unsafe practices including using a cellphone while behind the wheel, which was allegedly the case when Angelie was killed.
“After the accident we made a promise that our Hudson County delegation would lead the way in making sure legislation was passed to better regulate this industry and improve public safety and I am glad to say that we kept that promise,” said Speaker Prieto. “Our hope is that these new safeguards will prevent any other family from having to deal with losing a loved one because of one of these buses, which is exactly what Angelie’s parents asked for.”
Besides the legislative sponsors, many local leaders attended the ceremony and gave remarks on how their communities are working to enforce current laws on the buses and use the new tools provided by “Angelie’s Law.” Hudson County Sheriff Frank Schillari, West New York Mayor Felix Roque, Weehawken Mayor and District Director for Congressman Albio Sires Richard Turner, Guttenberg Mayor Gerry Drasheff and Hudson County Freeholder Junior Maldonado were all in attendance.