There is mystery surrounding the FedEx truck that swerved out of control across interstate highway’s I-5 median some 90 miles north of Sacramento on Thursday. The truck crashed into a tour bus, killing ten people and injuring thirty while on its way to a college-acceptance trip at Humboldt State University.
According to the Los Angeles Times, there are still two conflicting stories from eye witnesses: one saw flames coming out of the bottom of the truck as it traversed the median, and the other saw no flames from the truck until it collided with the bus.
The witnesses did agree that the truck crossed over the median from the southbound lanes and smashed into the Silverado Stages charter bus, which carried 48 people, including 44 Southern California high school students. The Times reported that Ryan Householder, 31, the witness who saw no flames coming from the truck, has been haunted by the screams of the trapped passengers in the flaming bus. Householder provided the most details about the horrific event, according to the Times.
“When they collided, it was boom!,” he said. Householder said that the Fed Ex driver “looked like he tried straightening out going into the fast lane, but all his weight and momentum shot him straight across the median…And he collided with that tour bus…It was very ugly.”
According, to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), another witness, Bonnie Duran, driving in her rented Nissan Altima, was heading north when the FedEx truck hurtled across the median and sideswiped her, peeling off her back seat passenger door. Bonnie saw things differently than Householder, claiming that “It was on fire already.”
Investigators are still analyzing evidence and have not yet obtained alcohol or drug tests from the drivers. Significantly, the Christian Science Monitor reported that this would not be the first time a FedEx truck has burst into flames. There have been prior incidences of electrical malfunctions, as well as chemical-related fires from cargo inside the trucks.
The Monitor also reported that as part of its investigation, the NTSB will determine if the highway should have had median barriers separating the opposing streams of traffic. Barriers are required when medians are less than 50 feet wide. The median in this case was 60 feet.