A young could who became engaged just months ago in Paris were among 10 people killed in a fiery wreck between a bus and a Fed Ex tractor trailer. The wreck occurred in Orland, California (CA) which is about 100 miles north of Sacramento. According to media reports, a Fed Ex big rig crossed the center line on the I-5 Freeway and slammed into a tour bus that was loaded with 48 students and adults. The group was their way to a college visit at Humboldt State University. The engaged couple – Michael Myvett and Mattison Haywood – were two of the chaperones on the bus.
Both drivers, five students and three chaperones died. Among the dead was an admissions officer who worked with college recruits in the Los Angeles area. Of the 48 people on the bus, 31 were sent to the hospital. Nine people were dead at the scene, and one more died in the hospital with severe burns.
Other media reports have noted that the FedEx two-tractor trailer involved in the wreck was seen by witnesses in flames before it slammed into the bus. Police think it is possible that if the FedEx truck was on fire, the driver may have been overcome by smoke or chemical fumes. Investigators noted that there were no truck skid marks, which shows that the driver did not apply the brakes.
Federal investigators have stated that they have not yet seen any evidence that the FedEx truck was on fire before the wreck. However, the investigation is continuing. Details about the cargo in the truck have not been disclosed yet.
There have been previous incidents where FedEx trucks have burst into flames on the road. In fact, the day after the above crash, the driver of a small FedEx truck saw smoke coming out of the cargo area of his truck in Corte Madera, CA. By the time he drove it into a parking lot, the cargo area was on fire. Fire investigators in that incident think there was either an electrical problem or a chemical reaction in the cargo that caused the blaze.
NTSB investigators working on the truck/bus wreck also are looking into whether there should have been a barrier on the median of I-5 to prevent such a head on collision.