April 26, 2014 in Nation/World

NTSB report gives details of fatal FedEx truck-bus crash

Samantha Schaefer Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGELES – Federal transportation officials on Friday released a preliminary report confirming the timeline of a fiery crash in Northern California between a college-bound bus and a FedEx freight truck that killed 10, including five high school students.

According to a report issued by the National Transportation Safety Board, around 5:40 p.m. April 10, a FedEx truck carrying two 28-foot trailers on the southbound 5 Freeway in Orland drove across a 58-foot center median into northbound traffic.

The truck first struck the back of a 2013 Nissan Altima, which rotated and moved off the freeway, and then went on to hit the chartered bus carrying chaperones and high school students from Southern California.

A post-crash fire was ignited, which burned both vehicles and significantly damaged the front of the bus, the report said.

Five students from Southern California high schools and three adult chaperones bound for Humboldt State University died in the fiery crash, as did both the drivers. The driver and passenger of the Nissan suffered minor injuries, the report said.

The FedEx truck had departed about 10 a.m. that day from Sacramento to deliver two trailers to Weed, Calif. It began the drive back to Sacramento with two new trailers about 3:30 p.m.

The bus, which departed from Los Angeles, was carrying 43 students and three chaperones and had made a scheduled stop and driver change in Sacramento on its way to Humboldt State University, according to the report.

On Tuesday, the mother of a 17-year-old student who died in the crash filed a wrongful death lawsuit. Rosa Rivera, the mother of Dorsey High School student Jennifer Bonilla – described by friends and teachers as a bright, spunky teenager on the brink of going to college – is seeking $100 million in general and punitive damages, attorney A. King Aminpour said.

The suit claims FedEx negligently operated its freight trucks, despite previous incidents of vehicles catching fire due to mechanical problems, driver error or improperly loaded cargo.

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