California authorities said on Friday that it could take months to determine what caused the driver of a FedEx tractor-trailer to cross a grassy center divider and slam into a chartered bus full of high school students on a trip to a Northern California university.
The accident, which killed 10 people, including five students, and injured dozens, occurred Thursday evening on Interstate 5 in Orland, a town about 100 miles north of Sacramento. Both the FedEx truck and the bus burst into flames, shutting down traffic on both sides of the highway and sending panicked children fleeing out bus windows.
The California Highway Patrol said the drivers of the bus and the truck were among the dead, but officials have so far released the name of only one victim, Arthur Arzola, 26, of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., one of three chaperones who died.
At least one bus passenger remained in critical condition on Friday. A total of 31 people were taken to seven hospitals after the crash and were being treated for a range of injuries, including burns, officials said.
The students involved in the accident were taking part in Humboldt State University's Preview Plus, an annual program in which the university provides transportation and lodging to enable hundreds of disadvantaged students who have been admitted to visit the campus. The bus was one of three chartered by Humboldt State to bring high school students to the campus on Thursday.
Michelle King, senior deputy superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District, said Friday that 19 students from 16 schools in the district had been on the bus. A school spokesman said the students had been accepted at Humboldt State, but it was not clear whether they had decided to attend.