NTSB releases 2,000 pages of documents in FedEx crash, still no cause cited

By Greg Grisolano, Land Line staff writer | Thursday, May 14, 2015

Investigators for the National Transportation Safety Board released a docket in excess of 2,000 pages related to the investigation of a 2014 crash between a FedEx tractor-trailer and a charter bus carrying 43 high school students on a visit to a northern California university.

While the report contains extensive factual information, including photographs of the damaged vehicles and interviews with witnesses, crash survivors and the wife of the FedEx driver, the NTSB states that the docket does not include any analysis, nor does it list a cause of the crash at this time.

The crash occurred on April 10 when a 2007 Volvo pulling two 28-foot trailers operated by FedEx was traveling southbound on Interstate 5 in Orland, Calif. At the same time, a 2014 Setra motorcoach operated by Silverado Stages Inc., with 43 high school students and three adult chaperones was traveling northbound on I-5.

According to reports, the truck crossed over and collided with the bus. The National Transportation Safety Board stated in a preliminary report that the truck left no skid marks on either portion of the roadway or the median.

Witnesses told the NTSB last year that flames were coming from the lower rear of the truck cab, but investigators did not find soot or other indications of a pre-crash fire, according to documents in the report.

As a result of the collision, the drivers of both the tractor-trailer and the bus were killed, along with eight bus passengers. The remaining passengers suffered various degrees of injuries.

The FedEx driver, Timothy P. Evans worked as a road driver. He was doing a scheduled “meet and turn” with another FedEx driver, where two of the company’s drivers will meet and swap trailers, returning to their starting center. Evans was reportedly in good health, exercised at the gym regularly and suffered from no medical conditions, his wife told investigators, according to the report.

However, the driver who met Evans to swap trailers at Weed, Ore., on the day of the crash said Evans looked “clammy and pale” at their meeting. Evans completed the swap and departed at about 3 p.m. The crash occurred at 5:40 p.m.

The documents state that all passengers on the motorcoach said there were no safety briefings conducted by either bus driver prior to departure on seatbelt usage or emergency exit operations. Only one of the 29 passengers interviewed stated that they were wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash.

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