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Fatal California highway accident leaves investigators baffled

A recent fatal accident in Northern California that stunned the country, including those in Oklahoma, has investigators baffled by evidence and eyewitness reports and has left families and friends looking for answers. What was supposed to be a tour for prospective high school students of a state university ended tragically when their bus was hit head-on by a FedEx tractor-trailer near the town of Orland on Interstate 5.

According to investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board, the southbound FedEx truck sideswiped a car, traveled through a median strip and then hit the northbound bus. The collision and ensuing fuel explosion engulfed both the bus and truck in flames. Ten people were killed: five students, three adult chaperones and both the truck and bus drivers. Survivors of the crash were taken to different area hospitals and were expected to recover.

The Southern California teenagers and their adult companions were traveling to visit Humboldt State University as part of the university's Preview Plus program. The program encourages college-bound high school students to tour the campus.

Investigators from the NTSB and California Highway Patrol are investigating the vehicle accident. One preliminary finding is that the driver of the FedEx truck did not brake before hitting the bus; investigators found no skid marks on the road surface. Investigators have not yet been able to confirm a report that the tractor-trailer was on fire before it struck the bus.

Vehicle accidents frequently bring emotional pain in addition to any injuries or deaths. Accident victims often find it hard to recover from such experiences. However, those injured in accidents or their families may be able to seek reasonable compensation.

Source: ABC 7, "Bus crash: FedEx semi didn't brake before hitting bus," April 12, 2014

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