PORTLAND, Ore. – An 11-year-old girl died Saturday night after she fell out of a party bus in Downtown Portland, police said.
Family and friends were riding the bus to a quinceanera party, a Latino celebration of a girl’s 15th birthday.
Angie Hernandez leaned against an emergency window when it opened, family members said. Police are calling the death a tragic accident. She died at the scene.
Hernandez was a 6th grader at Rowe Middle School in Milwaukie.
There were between 20 and 30 people on the bus, many of them children, when Hernandez fell out.
“We were so happy for this day. We were waiting for this day for so long. We were all so excited,” said Hernandez’s uncle Roberto Avelaneda. “I don’t have words to explain. We’re really upset about it.”
The bus full of children turned from Southwest 1st Avenue onto Harrison Street at around 6 p.m. when Hernandez fell out of the window. Family members told KATU News she fell out after a group photo was taken on the bus.
“Those emergency exits are designed to be secured and closed and locked,” said Portland Police spokesman Robert King. “One of the questions I know investigators will be asking is how it came to be open, whether it was faulty.”
No criminal charges have been filed.
The involved bus is owned by Five Star Limousine in Portland. The driver has not been identified.
"The driver that went out that day would have gone through and checked everything," said Five Star general manager Rick Lycksell.
Lycksell said the driver does not have a commercial driver's license, but is in the process of getting one. According to the Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles, a commercial driver's license is required to drive a vehicle containing more than 16 passengers.
Police took the bus away Saturday night as part of their investigation.
"When they're done with it, we'll get rid of it," said Lycksell. "I don't ever want to see that bus again."
Hernandez was a 6th grader at Rowe Middle School in Milwaukie. Her family set up a memorial fund to help pay for funeral costs. Donations to the "Angie Hernandez memorial fund" can be made at any U.S. Bank branch.