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9 killed in three-vehicle crash

ORLAND, Calif. (AP) - Nine people were killed Thursday and dozens injured in a fiery crash between a FedEx delivery truck and a charter bus carrying high school students on a visit to a Northern California college, authorities said.

California Highway Patrol dispatchers said the drivers of the truck and bus were among the dead along with seven other people who were riding on the bus.

The crash happened a little after 5:30 p.m. on Interstate 5 near Orland, a small city about an hour-and-a-half north of Sacramento.

The bus was one of two that the admissions office at Humboldt State University had chartered to bring prospective students from Southern California up to tour the Arcata campus, Humboldt's Vice President of Administrative Affairs Joyce Lopes said.

University police were trying to determine which school districts the students were from and fielding telephone calls from anxious parents, according to a statement on the school's 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," Humboldt State's President Rollin Richmond said.

A CHP dispatcher says the bus and truck were on opposite sides of the freeway when the truck crossed a grass median and slammed into the bus, causing an explosion and fire.

Investigators say the truck driver might have been trying to avoid a passenger car that was also involved in the crash, which shut down shut down north- and south-bound traffic on the freeway.

Bonnie Kourvelas, a FedEx spokeswoman, said in a statement Thursday night: "Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone involved in the tragic accident on I-5 in California. We are cooperating fully with authorities as they investigate."

A first responder who helped set up a triage at the scene said 36 or 37 people received injuries ranging from severe to minor burns, broken legs and noses and head lacerations.

"The victims were teenage kids. A lot of them were freaked out. They were shocked. They still couldn't grasp what happened," Jason Wyman with the Orland Volunteer Fire Department said.

"You hear about it in the news, but you never seen anything like that," he said.

Wyman said when he drove a water truck to the highway, both the bus and truck were fully engulfed in flames, sending thick, dark smoke into the air.

He said he was first focused on putting out the fire, and once it was under control he saw dozens of people walking wounded.

"The first victim that was taken out of the bus was severely burned," Wyman said.

Five people were taken to Enloe Medical Center in Chico with minor to moderate injuries; four more were on the way, hospital spokeswoman Christina Chavira said.

Another five were taken to Mercy Medical Center in Redding in fair condition.

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GreenWitch~~~ April 11 2014 at 2:26 AM

The most dangerous thing you do each day is to get into your vehicle! People need to respect the power under your control - or lack of it - and pay attention. No distractions - Period! You hold others lives (babies, children, moms, grandads - people that can't be replaced) in your hands while driving! Drive Defensively ~~ Everyone is so angry & in such a hurry. It is a privilege to drive, not a right! Intoxicated drivers need more serious punishment ... & illegals - who don't know the rules of the road & don't care! God bless the kids & their families ~~~ So sad.

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lokkenlindsey April 11 2014 at 1:47 AM

The children should never pass away before their parents. My tears are falling for these parents and for the friends that survived, and hurt too. I had an accident a couple of months ago, and it was on a side road that was very narrow. A pickup passed me going to fast and because of the narrow road, his left rear bumper caught onto my right front fender and I braked - my whole front grill covering my radiator was nearly tore off....costing the insurance company almost $3,000.00 to cover repairs. The Police did not ticket either of us two drivers.....some roads are too narrow.

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raidrmik67 April 11 2014 at 1:45 AM

I've driven through this area many times, it's mostly rural farm country and the closest hospital to handle this is probably an hour away. So many people drive like idiots and it sounds like the truck driver was trying to avoid one and ended in a tragedy.

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1 reply
gramos555 raidrmik67 April 11 2014 at 1:56 AM

Enloe Medical Center in Chico is an important full service trauma center just 20 miles away, on HWY 32.

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gramos555 April 11 2014 at 1:43 AM

Three weeks ago I was in Chico and suffered a heart attack. I was taken to Enloe Medical Center, where the ER and inpatient physicians, nurses, and support staff were first rate.

They saved my life, and I hope they can help these poor kids.

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sensei1850 April 11 2014 at 1:42 AM

Dear God, please bring all family and friends comfort and help those that are grieving the loss of their loved ones.

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Steve April 11 2014 at 3:09 AM

WOW!! How sad.

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Sharon April 11 2014 at 1:38 AM

So sad when anybody gets killed, but even sadder when it's young kids just getting started in life. My prayers go out to the families of those killed & injured.

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1 reply
Ania Sharon April 11 2014 at 2:13 AM

It just brakes my heart. My kid just turned 19 graduated last year,it made think about all those school trips he went on often I went as chaperon but cant even think if something like this would happened and he was alone. This is going be so hard, the young ones are supposed to go on grow up have their own children or careers. I know life is not fair but this is more that that.

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auquasea April 11 2014 at 1:33 AM

Our local news (Channel 7...KRCR) says that neither the bus driver nor the FedEx driver were doing anything wrong...it appears that a small car caused the whole catastrophe. My heart goes out to every family member and loved one of the people that died, were hurt or traumatized by this horrific accident

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brunie65 April 11 2014 at 3:09 AM

No matter what the cause of this horrific crash was, & no matter what the investigation will reveal, my heart goes out to everyone involved. There is a lot of suffering from this (both pysical & emotional), & I am very sad for the victims and all their loved ones as well as all the first responders that were at the scene & cared for the victims to the best of their ability.

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ebg3fla April 11 2014 at 3:32 AM


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