It was a horrific accident: a teenager bound for a Sweet 16 party on a bus with friends stuck his head out of a rooftop hatch, struck an overpass and was killed almost instantly.
Behind that gruesome scene a year ago on the New Jersey side of the George Washington Bridge was a series of failures regarding the qualifications of the driver as well as problems with the bus, according to a confidential investigative report obtained by ABC News.
But the key thing, police determined, was the victim, Daniel Fernandez, 16, had been drinking heavily and had a blood-alcohol level of .209 percent -- more than twice the limit for those who can drink legally. So, as investigator John Pierotti Jr. wrote months later, Fernandez's "impairment contributed to the cause of the collision."
Authorities in both New York and New Jersey have declined to press criminal charges. The findings of the probe by the Port Authority Police Department have never been released.
The accident occurred on Aug. 31, 2012, as 64 teens traveled from St. Francis Preparatory School in Queens, N.Y., to the party in Garfield, N.J.. As the bus -- called a "Double Decker Mega Liner" -- made its way from the bridge to the New Jersey Turnpike about 6:30 p.m., Fernandez did what he and his friends had been doing much of the ride, investigators determined, and stuck his head out of the emergency hatch on the roof.
As the bus moved just below the Fletcher Avenue overpass, Fernandez was nearly decapitated and thrown violently to the floor as his horrified friends watched.
"Panic ensued," investigators wrote in the document stamped "preliminary" and dated Jan. 22, 2013.
One witness said kids ran down to the driver, shouting "oh my God, something upstairs'…the juveniles were hysterical," according to the report.
Passengers "were taking off their shirts and trying to stop the bleeding from the victim's face."
At the scene, Fernandez didn't have a pulse and was not breathing, the report said. He was declared dead at a nearby hospital 45 minutes later. Cause of death was blunt-force injuries to the head.
In addition to Fernandez's blood-alcohol level, investigators found:
Fernandez's parents told ABC News affiliate WABC they do not want to discuss the accident.
A man who answered the phone at the office of bus owner Designer Limousines Inc. of Port Washington, N.Y., said he would relay a message from ABC News but that message has not been returned.
The driver did not respond to messages.