Deadly bus crash: Bulk of investigation shifts to Los Angeles
The investigation into what caused a FedEx freight truck to cross a median and slam into a charter bus in Northern California, killing 10 people, is shifting to Los Angeles.
On the itinerary for investigators: meeting with Silverado Stages, the company that owned and operated the bus involved in the collision, and interviewing student survivors of the accident, mainly in the Los Angeles area.
Investigators continue to examine the scene of the crash, which occurred at about 5:30 p.m. Thursday on the Interstate 5 in Orland. Despite some witness accounts, Mark Rosekind, a member of the National Transportation Safety Board, said investigators found no physical evidence that the FedEx truck was on fire before the collision.
The bus was carrying 48 people, including 44 Southern California high school students who were on their way to Humboldt State University for an orientation program. In all, five students were killed, three adult chaperons and the drivers of the two vehicles.
All of the dead, except for the two drivers, have been accounted for and identified by family members.
On Sunday, Rosekind said looking at “fatigue, distraction and other human performance issues” is a priority. The FedEx driver was based in Sacramento and had taken a load of freight to a town just south of the Oregon border earlier on the day of the crash. The driver picked up two semitrailers — one partly loaded, the other empty — and was returning to Sacramento when the accident occurred.
Rosekind said that the truck left no skid marks, on either the roadway or the median, as it veered into oncoming traffic. In contrast, more than 145 feet of tire marks indicated that the bus driver tried to stop and swerve to the right.
“That driver was clearly reacting to a situation with braking and a driving maneuver,” he said.
Rosekind cautioned that it remained too early to tell what prompted the FedEx driver to leave the southbound lanes. The investigator said blood samples had been obtained from the drivers. The samples will be used to test for alcohol, drugs or medication.
It could take months for the board to issue its final report on the accident, Rosekind said. A preliminary report will be released in 30 days.
Meanwhile, authorities over the weekend said five autopsies remain. Attempts to obtain dental records of the victims “is being accelerated as much as is humanly possible,” according to Larry Jones, who serves as the sheriff and coroner in Glenn County.
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