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Bus monitor Amanda Davila charged after 6-year-old Fajr Williams dies while being transported to Somerset County school

6-year-old girl dies after bus ride to NJ school; bus monitor charged
6-year-old girl dies after bus ride to NJ school; bus monitor charged 03:14

SOMERSET, N.J. -- A bus monitor has been charged in a child's death in Somerset County, New Jersey.

Prosecutors say 6-year-old Fajr Williams, who suffers from a rare disorder, died on a bus as she was being transported to the Claremont Elementary School in Somerset.

Her mom's grief is unimaginable.

"I just miss my baby so much and just seems very unreal to me at this time," Najmah Nash said.

Investigators have charged bus monitor Amanda Davila with second-degree manslaughter and endangering the welfare of a child. Authorities say the 27-year-old, who appeared in court Thursday, was on a cellphone with her earbuds in, sitting in front of the bus, when the safety harness on the 6-year-old's wheelchair blocked her from breathing.

"This lady is on the cellphone. [Fajr]'s back there fighting for her life. She's not even looking back," Faja's dad, Wali Williams, said.

Nash says her daughter is nonverbal but is able to make sounds.

"Is it that loud on the vehicle? Is it that loud?" Nash said. "She makes sounds. She has a voice."

Fajr's mother says she got the call Monday, 45 minutes after her daughter was picked up from their home.

"They told me she arrived nonresponsive and that they had to do CPR and that they were still performing it," Nash said.

The bus is operated by Montauk Transit LLC out of Somerset.

"We at Montauk Transit are all devastated by the loss of Fajr. We all extend our deepest condolences to the family and are grieving as a Company," the company said in a statement Friday. "All of our employees know that the safety of children we transport is our top priority, which is why we are fully engaged in the law enforcement investigation and support any punishment that the justice system determines appropriate for the bus monitor who has been arrested."

The school district said it can't comment because of the investigation.

"Board of Education, shame on you. Montauk transportation, shame on you. Montauk driver, Montauk aid, shame on you," Nash said. "By the end of everything, everyone will know my baby's name -- Fajr Atillah Williams. This will never, ever happen again."

Nash says she reached out to Davila the minute she got the call on Monday.

"And I said, 'What happened to my baby?' And she said, 'I don't know,'" Nash said. "My sweet baby, she was 6 years old, and she was the sweetest kid you'll ever meet."

"They need to be properly trained and equipped. Obviously she wasn't if she's sitting on the bus with disabled kids and she's on her cellphone with headphones on her head listening to, doing whatever she was doing while my daughter's back there fighting. She don't even have the decency to even look back," Williams said.

While the Franklin Township School District says it can't comment on the investigation, they say the school medical staff administered first aid and Faja was transported to a local hospital, where her mother met her.

The Somerset County prosecutor's office says it has video as evidence, but the family says they don't want to see it.

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