The Glenn County coroner’s office has confirmed an eighth victim who died in the April 10 collision between a FedEx truck and a tour bus of Southern California high school students.
The head-on collision, which killed 10, occurred on Interstate 5 near Orland as the students were on their way to Humboldt State University to visit the campus.
Coroner’s officials confirmed that Mattison Haywood, a 25-year-old resident of Chino, died in the crash along with her fiance, Michael Myvett, 29.
Haywood and Myvett were serving as chaperons for the teenagers during the trip, and both were reportedly sitting near the front of the bus when the FedEx truck crossed the median and barreled into it.
The crash killed both drivers, as well as five high school students and three adult chaperons.
Identifying the bodies has been a slow process because many trapped in the fiery wreckage were burned beyond recognition.
Authorities had to obtain dental records, in some cases from multiple dentists, to positively identify each of the nine victims who died. A 10th victim who was transported to UC Davis Medical Center, Arthur Arzola, was identified by the Sacramento County coroner’s office.
One victim has yet to be positively identified and is believed by investigators and family to be the body of 19-year-old Adrian Castro.
“What dental records we do have appear to be consistent,” said Glenn County Undersheriff Richard Warren, but he added that the evidence is not strong enough to declare a positive match.
Family members have offered to make DNA samples available in an effort to expedite the identification process, Warren said, but investigators had hoped to avoid DNA analysis because it could take longer to complete.
“It’s just a matter of getting the testing done in a timely manner,” he said.
Officials expect to positively identify the final set of remains by late Friday or Monday morning.
Toxicology reports, which were ordered immediately and for all bodies, will also take weeks to complete, Warren said. The results will help investigators determine cause of death for each of the victims, particularly by determining how much carbon monoxide was in their lungs at the time of death.
Investigators say it could be months before they can determine what caused the crash. California Highway Patrol officers spent Thursday afternoon using a full-size bus and a FedEx truck to reenact the crash and do additional testing.
A preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board, which is conducting a "parallel" investigation, is not expected for several weeks at least.