Ramapo police arrest driver in New Hempstead school bus crash that injured children

“A 37-year-old Monsey man faces multiple criminal charges after he crashed a school bus filled with students into trees and a house, Ramapo police said.

Police arrested Chaim Feder on Tuesday after weeks of investigating the crash on Dec. 1 along North South Gate Road, Lt. Michael Gannon said.

A school bus drove off North South Gate Road in New Hempstead, hitting a parked minivan and crashed into a house on Dec. 1, 2022. Several children were taken to the hospital. (Photo: Peter Carr/ The Journal News)

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Up to 21 children ranging in age between 5 and 10 years suffered injuries in the crash, including two 5-year-old boys who are recovering from serious injuries that required Westchester Medical Center stays, police said.

Five other children also were taken to the Valhalla hospital, police said. They were examined for bumps and bruises and released to their families, police said.

The crash caused extensive property damage, Gannon said.

Ramapo police charge driver with felonies

After weeks of gathering evidence and an extensive investigation, the Ramapo Police Department Crash Investigation Unit arrested Feder on the following charges:

  • Three counts of second-degree assault, a felony;
  • One count of first-degree reckless endangerment, a felony;
  • Twenty-one counts of endangering the welfare of a child, misdemeanors
  • One count of reckless endangerment, a misdemeanor and
  • 31 traffic infractions.

New Hempstead Justice Michael Koplen arraigned Feder and released him without bail for a future court hearing. The Rockland District Attorney’s Office had asked the judge to set bail at $50,000. Feder’s next court date has not yet been filed, according to the court.

Ramapo Police Chief Martin Reilly said Feder was ordered to turn over his passport.

Police said at the time that the crash occurred when the bus driver likely lost control of the bus as he came down the hill on North South Gate Road.

The bus hit a minivan at the top of the hill and then skidded off the road, scraped a telephone pole, struck a tree, and continued through the driveway before hitting vehicles, police said.

The bus then continued down the green hill through more trees before hitting the ranch-style house at 37 North Southgate Drive, police said. The bus landed on top of one vehicle.

Portions of the lawn fronting the house were ripped up as black skid marks and mud stained the road.

The New York State Department of Transportation investigated the bus. Police said no mechanical issues were found.

“We are thankful that the bus didn’t roll over,” Reilly said at the time. “If it had, there most likely would have been catastrophic injuries.”

Rockland District Attorney Thomas Walsh said “every morning parents across the county and country put their trust in school bus drivers to get their children safely to and from school. “As alleged, the actions of the defendant put the children on the bus in grave danger and resulted in serious injuries,” he said.

Read the complete Journal News story here.