NTSB Issues Preliminary Report in Fatal California FedEx Truck, Bus Crash

A final report on the crash that killed 10 people, including Southern California high school students, with more details might take months to complete

Federal crash investigators released a preliminary report Friday in a fatal collision involving a FedEx truck and a bus that was transporting high school students to a Northern California college campus.

The National Transportation Safety Board report comes about two weeks after the fiery crash on the 5 Freeway that killed 10 people near Orland, Calif., about 150 miles north of San Francisco. The victims included the drivers of both vehicles and Southern California high school students who were traveling to visit the campus of Humboldt State University.

The report outlines the events that led to the crash, but does not provide insight regarding a cause or why the FedEx truck driver crossed a freeway median before slamming into the northbound bus. Investigators have said a final report containing more information might not be available for months.

"The information in this report is preliminary and will be supplemented or corrected during the course of the investigation," the NTSB said.

Nine people died at the scene of the crash, and a 10th victim died at a hospital. Nineteen students from 16 LAUSD schools and students from other Southern California school districts were aboard the bus.

The FedEx truck towing two 28-foot trailers left the southbound 5 Freeway lanes, crossed a 58-foot wide center median and crashed through bushes before entering the northbound lanes, according to the NTSB preliminary report. The truck collided with a car that had just passed the bus, then collided with the motorcoach, according to the report.

The report notes that a "post-crash fire ensued." An initial witness report indicated the truck was already on fire before it struck the bus, but NTSB investigators said a few days after the crash that there was no evidence to support that account.

The report also outlines the truck's itinerary on the day of the crash. It departed a FedEx building in Sacramento that morning before arriving in Weed, Calif., about 49 miles south of the Oregon border, to deliver two trailers. The driver picked up two more trailers and was on his way to Sacramento at the time of the crash.

The motorcoach convoy had left Los Angeles that morning and had just completed a scheduled stop in Sacramento for a driver change.

Earlier this week, the mother of a 17-year-old student killed in the crash filed a negligence lawsuit in connection with the collision. The lawsuit seeks $100 million in damages from FedEx.


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