An unsafe turning movement is the official cause of a 2014 collision between a FedEx truck and a charter bus that left 10 people dead, according to a recently released report from the California Highway Patrol.
But just what caused the truck driver to suddenly veer from the southbound lane and cross a median into the northbound lane and strike the bus – such as an undetermined medical condition, sleepiness, or driver fatigue – may never be known, the CHP stated.
“Our investigators carefully analyzed every aspect of this collision and concluded that environmental factors, roadway conditions and vehicle maintenance were not the cause,” CHP Northern Division Chief Ruben Leal said in the release. “The collision was caused – for unknown reasons – by the driver’s unsafe turning movement, and although fatigue or an undetermined medical condition may have contributed, there is no conclusive evidence.”
Released on Friday, May 22, the report comes just days after the National Transportation Safety Board released more than 2,000 pages of documents from their investigation into the crash. The NTSB report contains extensive factual information, but does not include any analysis, nor does it list a cause of the crash.
The crash occurred at approximately 5:40 p.m., on April 10, 2014, on Interstate 5 near Orland, Calif. It claimed the lives of 10 people, including the FedEx truck driver, Timothy P. Evans, and injured 39.
Evans was southbound on I-5, when for unknown reasons, he allowed the tractor-trailer to drift into and through the No. 1 lane, maintained this gradual path of travel through the median, and crossed into northbound traffic without applying the brakes, or making any type of evasive steering, the CHP report stated.
According to the release, CHP investigators did not find that environmental or mechanical factors caused or contributed to this collision. However, the release states that some evidence at the scene of possible fatigue or sleepiness included the long straight section of roadway, the departure angle of the tires consistent with fatigue-related collisions, that the driver was alone and did not attempt to avoid a collision, and an eyewitness report the driver was slumped toward the driver’s window as he approached oncoming traffic.
The NTSB report stated 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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