A collision between a Fed-Ex tractor trailer and a charter bus this past Thursday, April 10, 2014 resulted in the deaths of ten people, most of them high achieving high school students on their way to a tour of the Humboldt State University campus for a tour and presentation of college life.
Witnesses described the scene as a Fed-Ex tractor trailer was traveling southbound on Interstate 5 approximately 90 miles north of Sacramento, California. Suddenly, the tractor-trailer began to shift into the fast lane and swerved out of control as the driver attempted the maneuver. The truck crossed the highway median and rammed head-on into an oncoming charter bus filled with high achieving students coming from low income or first generation families. The witnesses both inside and outside of the bus described the flames that immediately engulfed both motor vehicles. Students knocked out windows in the bus and jumped out.
Emergency responders quickly brought the flames under control and rushed more than 30 individuals, mostly students, to nearby emergency rooms for medical treatment of personal injuries ranging from light bruising to smoke inhalation to burns. Officials confirmed that ten individuals died in the trucking accident, including the drivers of both vehicles, three chaperones for the students, and five students. The deaths resulted from a mixture of blunt force trauma and burn injuries.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has launched an investigation into this tragic truck-bus accident. The NTSB officials have already partially refuted at least one statement from a witness that the Fed Ex truck was on fire before striking the bus. The investigators stated that they found no evidence to support this statement. The investigation is expected to take some time as both drivers were killed and the pool of people who saw first-hand what happened is quite limited.
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