☑️Chiara Jones was struck crossing the street after a cheerleading competition

☑️Her attorney blames the school bus driver for not having its flashing lights on

☑️She is still hospitalized in a "vegetative state," according to her attorney


NEWARK — The family of a Newark Arts High School cheerleader who was seriously injured after getting off a school bus is planning a $150 million lawsuit.

Chiara Jones, 18, was crossing Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard to meet an Uber driver the night of Feb. 4 after her cheerleading squad returned from winning a championship competition in Toms River.

The driver left the scene, according to Essex County Prosecutor Ted Stephens III. Mia’Jah Burton, 33, of Newark, was arrested March 1.

The crash sent Jones to University Hospital where she remains in a vegetative state with a severe head injury, loss of teeth and multiple fractures, according to the notice of claim, which is the first step in suing a public entity in New Jersey.

Her parents have also suffered the "loss of services, advice and companionship" of their daughter and and suing for her "past and future care," the claim says.

The claim says the bus driver didn't activate the red flashing lights and extend the arm as it let the squad off the bus. Stephens has not disclosed details about Jones' injuries or the crash itself.

A notice of claim is required to be submitted within 90 days of an incident when a lawsuit is filed against a government agency.

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Chiara Jones
Chiara Jones (Lynch Law Firm)

Attorney: Dangerous drop-off

James Lynch, an attorney with the Lynch Law Firm, said the Arts School drop-off process "invites danger" and promised to hold all those responsible accountable. Named in the lawsuit are the Newark Board of Education, Essex County and Best Choice Transportation of West Orange, the operator of the bus.

“This is an absolutely senseless tragedy of a young woman with such a bright and successful future ahead,” James Lynch of Lynch Law Firm said in a statement.

“It’s unfathomable that one minute Chiara was beaming with pride alongside her teammates after winning a big cheerleading competition, to moments later entering the battle for her life.”

Burton faces a dozen charges including third-degree leaving the scene of a crash resulting in serious bodily injury; third-degree endangering and injured victim, fourth-degree assault by auto; third-degree hindering and fourth-degree false report to law enforcement. She is being held at the Essex County Correctional Facility.

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Mia’Jah Burton
Mia’Jah Burton (Essex County Correctional Facility)

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