Orland crash still under investigation

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CHP officers and members of the National Transportation Safety Board measure the stopping distance of a bus similar to the one involved in the Orland bus crash. Photo credit: Sharon Martin

It could take months to determine the cause of the Orland bus crash, according to California Highway Patrol.

The crash, which occurred April 10, involved a FedEx semitrailer and a charter bus of high school students who were traveling to Humboldt State University for a campus tour. Ten people died in the crash, including drivers of both the truck and the bus, three chaperones and five students.

The CHP and the National Transportation Safety Board conducted a controlled reenactment of the crash Thursday on Interstate 5 in Orland to determine the cause of the accident.

Investigators used replica vehicles provided by FedEx and Silverado Stages to perform the simulation.

“The FedEx truck is loaded similar to how it was in the accident,” CHP officer Mathew Thompson said.

During the test, investigators were looking for the speed of the bus at the time of crash. Video equipment was also used on both vehicles to determine what each driver saw during the accident.

“This is a long investigation, but it’s important to have the complete and thorough information,” said Ruben Leal, CHP Northern Division Chief.

The simulation also tested to see if the rumble strips on the southbound side of Interstate 5 could be heard from inside the truck.

The CHP will take the data collected from the tests to determine what caused the FedEx truck to cross the freeway median and collide with the bus.

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