Ten high school students were killed in a fiery bus accident in Orland, California, after a FedEx tractor-trailer crossed a grassy freeway median and slammed into the bus the evening of April 10, 2014. According to an Associated Press news report, many of the more than 40 students who were on a trip from Los Angeles to Humboldt State University, were able to escape through a window that someone kicked open and ran to the other side of the Interstate 5 before the bus exploded and burst into flames.
Crash Involved Three Vehicles
California Highway Patrol officials say the driver of the FedEx tractor-trailer was among those dead in the crash. Investigators are still working to identify the other deceased victims. The bus was carrying between 44 and 48 students, four chaperones and the driver. The crash happened on the interstate near Orland, about 100 miles north of Sacramento.
The bus was one of two that the admissions office at Humboldt State University had chartered to bring prospective students from Southern California to tour the Arcata campus. The bus involved in this crash was owned by Silverado Stages, a San Luis Obispo-based tour bus company. First responders reported that 37 people suffered injuries in the crash ranging from minor to severe burns, broken legs and noses and head lacerations.
We offer our deepest condolences to the family members of these deceased young people who had their lives ahead of them. Our thoughts and prayers are also with the many injured victims. We wish them the very best for a speedy and complete recovery.
Based on this news report, the investigation into what caused this horrific accident is still under investigation. Investigators, based on preliminary investigations, say that the truck driver might have been trying to avoid a passenger car that was also involved in the crash. There are many unanswered questions still remaining here, which we trust will be a part of the ongoing investigation.
Was the driver of the FedEx truck speeding, impaired, fatigued or otherwise negligent at the time of the crash? Was there a vehicle defect or mechanical malfunction in the FedEx truck that caused the crash? Did a dangerous roadway condition cause or contribute to this fiery collision? It would be necessary as part of the investigation to obtain and review the trucking company’s vehicle maintenance logs as well as driver logs.
Seeking Help at a Time of Crisis
In this time of crisis, we hope parents and family members of the deceased victims as well as injured students and their families have the resources they need to navigate this most difficult situation. Family members may have a number of questions at this time as to how this might have happened, who was at fault and what could have helped prevent this crash. At the same time, they may have to make funeral arrangements or care for their loved ones at the hospital, while facing the financial burdens of paying medical and other bills.
We strongly recommend grief counseling for everyone who was involved in this traumatic incident. These young students saw their fellow travelers perish in the explosion. It is also important that injured victims and their families obtain access to the information and resources they need to protect their legal rights and best interests. It is also crucial in such cases that important evidence such as the vehicles and trucking company logs are preserved.
Our law firm is available as a resource for anyone who has been injured or has lost a loved one in a traumatic incident. Brian Chase, partner at BISNAR | CHASE is the 2015 President of the Consumer Attorneys of California (CAOC) and is a two-time Attorney of the Year winner. The best California bus accident lawyers will be able to assist uninsured crash victims obtain medical treatment and provide them with the support and resources they need during difficult times.