Investigation Officially Faults FedEx Driver For Fatal Orland Crashby Jana Ritter - Published: 5/22/2015
Who could forget the tragic crash that involved a FedEx truck driver and a busload of high school students last April in Orland, California. Now just over a year later, the investigation has finally concluded and today the California Highway Patrol released an official statement ruling the FedEx truck driver at fault for the fiery head-on collision that ended his own life, the bus driver, five students and three chaperones.
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“The underlying cause of the crash is the FedEx truck driver, Tim Evans, 32, allowing his vehicle to travel across the median in an unsafe turning movement. He could have fell asleep, he could have had an undiagnosed medical condition. We're unable to prove either," said Sgt. Nate Parsons. The California Highway Patrol held a news conference Friday, after meeting with family members of the victims killed in the collision. “Evans had sufficient time off," Parsons continued. "That day he had been working approximately eight hours at the time of the collision. But he had between eight and 10 hours of sleep the night before."
FedEx has not yet made any public statements about the CHP report and do not plan on doing so until the National Transportation Safety Board finishes its separate investigation, according to FedEx spokesman, Jim McCluskey. The main question that everyone has been asking since the crash, is what caused the FedEx truck to gradually cross the interstate median into oncoming traffic. Investigators had immediately reported finding no evidence that the truck driver had attempted to slow down or swerve. Earlier this month, the National Transportation Safety Board released documents showing Evans had no drugs or alcohol in his system and was reportedly in good health. However, the records also included various witness accounts offering insight into the investigation. One passenger seated three rows behind the bus driver reported that he saw Evans with his head down and slumped toward the door immediately before the crash. Another motorist driving on the highway right before the crash occurred, said the FedEx truck’s left turn signal was on before it changed lanes and drifted across the median. Yet another account by a couple driving a sedan that was sideswiped by the truck right before the crash, said that they saw flames coming out of one of the truck's trailers. However the board investigators found no physical evidence to indicate that any such fire occurred, only the explosion ignited by the impact of the crash.
What we do know is that the deadly crash occurred on April 14, 2014, near Orland, California, about 100 miles north of Sacramento. The bus had been carrying high school students from the Los Angeles area who were visiting Humboldt State University as potential future students. Two of the three chaperones killed both were engaged to be married the following year. The many grieving families and friends of those who died in the crash still aren’t any closer to knowing what really caused this tragic incident to occur. Carla Haywood’s daughter, Mattison, was one of chaperones whose life was cut short and says that the investigation has not answered their central question of why the truck driver left the road. "We're constantly wondering what happened, questioning what could have been prevented," said Haywood.