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Investigators: No sign truck driver tried to brake before deadly California crash

NTSB says the bus driver killed in deadly crash tried to avoid collision with a FedEx truck.

By Frances Burns
Investigators: No sign truck driver tried to brake before deadly California crash
A Federal Express logo is seen on a truck in Sunnyvale, California on April 9, 2010. UPI/Mohammad Kheirkhah | License Photo

LOS ANGELES, April 14 (UPI) -- Investigators say there is no sign a FedEx truck driver tried to brake before a deadly collision with a charter bus carrying Los Angeles high school students.

Both drivers were killed in the crash Thursday on Interstate 5 about 100 miles north of Sacramento. Mark Rosekind of the National Transportation Safety Board said Sunday tire marks showed the bus driver reacted by trying to swerve when the truck, headed south, crossed the median to the northbound side of the highway.

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"That driver was clearly reacting to a situation with braking and a driving maneuver," he said.

The bus, owned by Silverado Stages, was carrying 44 Los Angeles high school students who had been accepted by Humboldt State University in Arcata, Calif., to a "Spring Preview" weekend. The crash killed a total of 10 people, including three of the four adult chaperones on the bus and five students.

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Rosekind said investigators were trying to determine if “fatigue, distraction and other human performance issues” were a factor. The truck driver was on the way back to Sacramento pulling two semi-trailers after delivering a load earlier in the day in northern California near the Oregon state line.

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Blood samples from both drivers will be tested for drugs and alcohol, Rosekind said.

On Monday, investigators planned to meet with Silverado officials and to interview students who survived the crash. Most of the students returned home.

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Humboldt in a statement said it cut the two-day "Spring Preview" short, sending students home Saturday morning, because of the "emotional toll" of the crash and deaths. But it said about 400 students attended sessions Friday.

[Los Angeles Times] [Humboldt State University]

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