The Rensselaer County incident happened at around 2:45 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 30 on Route 7 in Pittstown.
Sheriff’s officials said a school bus carrying students from the Brunswick-Brittonkill Central School District was stopped on the right shoulder with its red lights and stop sign activated when a white cargo van nearly crashed into it.
The van then lost control, striking an eastbound box truck before going off the roadway.
Moments before the crash, a 12-year-old girl was just about to step off the bus when the driver noticed the van and quickly shut the doors.
A surveillance image released by deputies shows the van blowing right past where the girl would've been standing.
Deputies identified the van driver as 22-year-old Angel Fernando Pandiguana Pachar.
He was arrested and charged with reckless endangerment, reckless driving, and various vehicle and traffic violations.
According to Rensselaer County Executive Steven McLaughlin, Pachar is an Ecuadorian national and is in the United States illegally. At the time of the crash, he had no driver’s license or proof of insurance.
He was referred to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
McLaughlin said the incident shows that illegal immigration is having a negative impact on public safety.
"This was a scary event and could have resulted in a tragedy involving an elementary school student. This is outrageous and dangerous,” he said.
“I call on President Biden and Governor Hochul to get control of the borders and put the safety of our residents ahead of their foolish open border schemes.
"We have been sounding the alarm on the impact of illegal migrants for months, and today is a reminder that action is needed now to protect our residents.”
Meanwhile, the Brunswick-Brittonkill Central School District is praising the bus driver for likely preventing a tragedy.
“Not all heroes wear a cape,” the district said on Facebook. "Our heroes drive a school bus.”
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