The California Highway Patrol (CHP) announced it has completed its investigation of the tragic 2014 collision between a FedEx vehicle and a tour bus that tragically killed 10 people, including 5 children, drivers of the bus and truck and 3 adult chaperones. In addition, 39 people, most of them students, sustained injuries from the force of the impact and the crash fire. Some of the children were severely burned.
CHP concluded that the collision was caused by the FedEx driver’s violation of California Vehicle Code section 22107:
Turning Movements and Required Signals
22107. No person shall turn a vehicle from a direct course or move right or left upon a roadway until such movement can be made with reasonable safety and then only after the giving of an appropriate signal in the manner provided in this chapter in the event any other vehicle may be affected by the movement.
CHP found that an undetermined medical condition, sleepiness, or driver fatigue may have contributed, but there was no conclusive evidence. Environmental factors, roadway conditions and vehicle maintenance were not the cause, according to CHP.
On April 10, 2014, at about 5:40 p.m., a FedEx driver was traveling south on Interstate 5. For “unknown reasons,” according to CHP, “he allowed the tractor-trailer to drift into and through the #1 lane, maintained this gradual path of travel through the median, and crossed into northbound traffic without applying the brakes, or making any type of evasive steering.”
CHP says it found evidence of possible fatigue or sleepiness, including:
- the long straight section of roadway;
- the departure angle of the tires, which were consistent with fatigue-related collisions;
- that the driver was alone and did not attempt to avoid a collision;
- an eyewitness report that the FedEx driver was slumped toward the driver’s window as he approached the oncoming traffic.
One of the vital pieces of evidence in investigations like this are skid marks. If there are not these tire friction marks, it is evidence that the brakes were not applied.