Friday, April 11, 2014

10 Killed as bus, truck carrying student collide in Los Angeles

The long
bus ride north from Los Angeles
for a group of high school
students who planned to visit
Humboldt State University had
been fun: The hours whizzed by
as they watched movies, chatted
up new friends, and jammed to
hip-hop on the radio.

Steven Clavijo, 18, a senior at
West Ranch High in Santa Clarita,
was looking forward to his visit
to Humboldt, where he planned
to enroll. Just as Clavijo was
trying to catch a nap Thursday
afternoon, he said he felt the big
vehicle begin to shake from left
to right and then he heard a
loud boom.
"We knew we were in major
trouble," he said.
A FedEx tractor-trailer had
crossed a grassy freeway
median and slammed into the
bus. Ten people were killed in
the fiery crash, including both
drivers, authorities said.

Many of the more than 40
students on board escaped
through a window that
someone had kicked open,
Clavijo said, running for their
lives to the other side of
Interstate 5 before hearing an
explosion and seeing the bus
burst into flame.
As he jumped out of the
window, Clavijo said, he
dropped his glasses and scraped
his knee.

Two more explosions soon
followed, he said, and he and
other survivors looked on
knowing others were still
trapped in an inferno.
Massive flames could be seen
devouring both vehicles just
after the crash, and clouds of
smoke billowed into the sky until
firefighters doused the fire,
leaving behind scorched black
hulks of metal. Bodies were
draped in blankets inside the
burned-out bus.

In addition to the drivers, three
adult chaperones and five
teenage students were killed in
the crash, according to the
California Highway Patrol. Their
identities were not immediately
released. The bus carried
between 44 and 48 students,
four chaperones and the driver,
the patrol said.
The crash happened a little after
5:30 p.m. on the interstate near
Orland, a small city 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, Humboldt's Vice
President of Administrative
Affairs Joyce Lopes said.
The bus was owned by Silverado
Stages, a tour bus company
based in San Luis Obisbo. The
company said in a statement on
its website Thursday night that
it was assisting authorities in
gathering information.

"Our top priority is making sure
that the injured are being cared
for," the company said.
Humboldt State President Rollin
Richmond issued a statement on
the school's website. "Our hearts
go out to those who have been
affected, and we are here to
support them, and their families,
in any way possible," Richmond
The students came from a
number of Southern California
high schools and Humboldt
spokesman Simon Chabel said
the college was working to
confirm where in Southern
California all the were from.

Los Angeles Unified School
District Superintendent John
Deasy said an unknown number
of students from Manual Arts
Senior High School and Robert F.
Kennedy Community Schools
were on the trip. He did not
know whether they were on the
bus involved in the crash.
A high school senior from
Alliance Renee & Meyer Luskin
Academy High School in Los
Angeles said she and a few of
her classmates who were
accepted to the university were
invited to go on the tour.

Sabrina Garcia said the tour
began Thursday, with buses
taking students in Southern
California on the ride to the
campus for a three-day stay
there. She said she decided to
postpone the tour because she
had a school project to
"I was devastated when I heard
about the crash, and relieved
that I didn't attend," Garcia said.

"I can't imagine how those kids
feel. You think you're going
somewhere safe with your
school — and you end up in an
A CHP dispatcher says the bus
and truck were on opposite
sides of the freeway when the
truck crossed the median and
slammed into the bus, causing
an explosion and fire.
Investigators say the truck driver
might have been trying to avoid
a passenger car that was also
involved in the crash, which shut
down north- and south-bound
traffic on the freeway.

"There was a small white sedan
in front of the truck," Heitman
said. "The FedEx vehicle did
sideswipe the sedan before it
crossed the median."
No one in the car was injured.
A first responder who helped set
up a triage at the scene said 36
or 37 people received injuries
ranging from minor to severe
burns, broken legs and noses,
and head lacerations.
"The victims were teenage kids.

A lot of them were freaked out.
They were shocked. They still
couldn't grasp what happened,"
said Jason Wyma

Reference: Yahoo News

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