CHP: Still not sure what caused trucker to veer into oncoming bus

By Greg Grisolano, Land Line staff writer | Friday, April 11, 2014

Authorities are still looking for clues as to why a tractor-trailer crossed a grassy median and slammed into an oncoming bus on a California Highway Thursday evening.

The crash killed both drivers and at least eight others, and left dozens more injured. The crash occurred on Interstate 5 in Orland, a city about 100 miles north of Sacramento.

According to a Friday press conference hosted by the California Highway Patrol, the crash scene was “fully engulfed in flames” when first responders arrived on the scene. The identities of the known victims have not been released as of Friday afternoon.

Lt. Scott Fredrick with the CHP said the cause of the crash is still under investigation.

“At this time, we don’t know whether the FedEx driver had fallen asleep, whether he experienced some mechanical failure with his vehicle, or whether there was a separate collision on the southbound side that caused him to lose control,” he said in the press conference.

The tractor-trailer was southbound when it crossed the median and collided with the bus, which was carrying more than 40 high school students to visit Humboldt State University in northern California. According to reports, the students were participating in a program that invites prospective low-income or first generation college students to visit the university.

The northbound lanes of I-5 were still closed as of 10:30 a.m. Friday, and the vehicles had not been removed. Officials announced at the press conference that they anticipated reopening the interstate later Friday afternoon. The National Transportation Safety Board is assisting in the investigation.

 

Editor's note: The version corrects a previous version's vehicle description.

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