LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Investigators have not determined why a FedEx truck driver veered across a Northern California highway last year and slammed into a bus carrying high school students on a college recruitment trip, killing 10 people, authorities said on Friday.
Five of the dead were Los Angeles-area students who had been on their way to tour a university campus when the FedEx truck collided head-on with their bus on Interstate 5 in the agricultural community of Orland, north of Sacramento.
The April crash also killed five adults including a 26-year-old college recruiter and the drivers of the bus and FedEx truck. Thirty-nine others were injured, authorities said.
California Highway Patrol Sergeant Nathan Parsons, a supervisor in charge of the investigation, told a news conference in Los Angeles that the 13-month probe considered mechanical, human and other factors.
“The collision was caused, for unknown reasons, by the (FedEx truck) driver’s unsafe turning movement, and although fatigue or an undetermined medical condition may have contributed, there is no conclusive evidence,” Parsons said.
He said sobriety was looked at.
“None of the drivers had alcohol or medication on board during the time of the collision,” Parsons said.
“We looked at the cell phone data for all drivers. None of the drivers utilized cell phones at the time of the collision.”
Parsons said it had not been possible to determine whether the FedEx truck driver had been asleep at the time of the crash, or if he had an undiagnosed medical condition.
Evelyn Jimenez’s brother Ismael, the reigning homecoming king at a high school in Inglewood, was killed in the crash. She said the victims’ families still had questions.
“We haven’t gotten all the answers that were wanted,” Jimenez told the news conference. “In my mind, I kept saying it’s the FedEx truck driver’s fault,” she said. “What these families feel, there never will be closure.”
Only two students were wearing seat belts, Parsons said. One of those was Gaylord Hill’s son Miles, a 19-year-old student at San Francisco State University who was sitting behind the bus driver.
“The seat belt saved his life. The person behind him was ejected through the front window,” Hill told Reuters.
“He is still dealing with it. He is in college and he is basically devastated. He couldn’t go to classes and he couldn’t sleep. It shocked him tremendously,” Hill said.
Reporting by Olga Grigoryants; Additional reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis; Writing by Daniel Wallis; Editing by Cynthia Johnston, Will Dunham and Eric Beech