The Orion

10 dead from bus crash

Orland+residents+look+on+Thursday+as+emergency+personnel+clean+up+the+accident.+Photo+credit%3A+Sharon+Martin
Orland residents look on Thursday as emergency personnel clean up the accident. Photo credit: Sharon Martin

Orland residents look on Thursday as emergency personnel clean up the accident. Photo credit: Sharon Martin

Orland residents look on Thursday as emergency personnel clean up the accident. Photo credit: Sharon Martin

Sharon Martin

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Ten people died after a crash Thursday involving a charter bus, a FedEx semitrailer and a white sedan on Interstate 5 near Orland.

The accident occurred after a semitrailer traveling south crossed over the center divider and clipped a white sedan, then collided with the bus, according to California Highway Patrol officer Tracy Hoover.

The passengers on the bus were high school students from Los Angeles County who were traveling to Humboldt State to tour the campus, Hoover said.

The students were part of a program that provides higher education opportunities for low-income and first-generation college students.

The driver of the semitrailer, the driver of the bus and five students and three chaperones on the bus were killed. The driver and passenger of the white sedan walked away with minor injuries.

Other injuries many of the bus passengers suffered include moderate to severe burns, contusions and cuts, Hoover said.

Many of the victims have been released from the hospital. Three students still remain hospitalized.

Arthur Arzola, one of the chaperones accompanying the students on the trip, was killed in the crash. Arzola had been working as an admissions representative for Humboldt State in Los Angeles for the past year, according to a statement on the Humboldt State website.

“Our hearts go out to those who have been affected, and we are here to support them, and their families, in any way possible,” said Rollin Richmond, president of Humboldt State, in a written statement.

Chico State paid tribute Friday by lowering the University flag to half-staff in honor of the 10 victims. Chico State President Paul Zingg offered support for Humboldt State in an email sent to students.

While the students were headed to Humboldt State University, they were seeking a university education in the CSU, and we feel a connection with them and all of our campuses,” Zingg said in a written statement. “We’re doing everything we can to support our friends and colleagues at HSU during this time of intense suffering.”

Early reports stated that the FedEx truck was on fire before crossing the median and crashing head-on with the bus.

There is no physical evidence of a fire occurring before the crash, said the National Transportation Safety Board.

It will take some time to fully understand exactly how this accident occurred and why,” Frederick W. Smith, FedEx chairman and CEO, wrote in a press release. “I want everyone to know that we at FedEx are committed to providing every resource necessary to assist investigators in their efforts to understand what happened.”

The NTSB is still investigating what caused the FedEx truck to cross the center divide of the freeway.

Sharon Martin can be reached at [email protected] or @SharonBMartin on Twitter.

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10 dead from bus crash