The mother of a teenage boy who was on the college tour bus Thursday night that collided with a FedEx truck, killing at least 10 people, said she is thankful her son is alive and plans to visit him at a hospital.
Covina resident Theresa Fulps’ son Anthony is hospitalized in the intensive care unit with injuries. Anthony is a senior at Pacifica High School in Garden Grove and was one of many Southern California students on their way to visit Humboldt State University at the time of the crash.
"Blessing all the families in the bus crash. My son was aboard that bus. So very scary," Fulps posted on Facebook.
Five students and five adults were killed in the crash and fire, according to the California Highway Patrol.
Fulps told NBC4 that Humboldt State University is flying her to Humboldt and taking care of her rental car and hotel accommodations while her son recovers in the hospital. Joyce Lopes, Vice President for Administrative Affairs at Humboldt State University, confirmed the university is flying many parents to Northern California. Lopes said that because schools were closed in the evening and overnight, the most difficult part in making arrangements has been getting in touch with the parents. Lopes added that the school will not close it's emergency operation until all parents had been contacted.
Fulps said called the hosiptal directly to get in touch with her son after her son's father informed her of the crash. Her son Anthony had left his cell phone on the bus escaping the fire and smoke.
"He had a chaplain in (the hospital) and a social worker, so they were holding the phone for him because he couldn’t hold the phone because he’s in a sling," Fulps said.
He told her he thinks he escaped through a bus window but he doesn't quite remember, Fulps said.
"He wasn't doing too good then," said Fulps. "He was pretty out of it because they were doing breathing treatments and there was a lot of pain from the fracture."
Anthony (left), who had just been accepted to Humboldt University, suffered a fractured elbow and smoke inhalation.
"I'm very, very thankful," said Fulps. "I just broke down."
The crash occurred around 5:40 p.m. Thursday. The charter bus collided with a FedEx big rig and white Nissan on Interstate 5 near Orland, Calif., CHP officials said.
CHP officials said among the dead are five students, three chaperones and two truck drivers. At least 34 passengers were injured.
The FedEx truck was heading south when it crossed the center line and hit the northbound bus head-on, causing the bus to erupt into flames, CHP officials said. The reason the FedEx crashed or how the Nissan was involved was not clear.
Nearly 50 people were on board, including the students, a few chaperones and the driver, CHP officials said. The group of students from Los Angeles and Riverside school districts was heading to Humboldt University's Spring Preview Day this weekend.
A parent told NBC4 her twin daughters, Marisa and Marisol Serrato, are students at Norte Vista High School in Riverside, but they boarded two separate buses because one daughter had signed up for the tour late. Their mother said she couldn't get a hold of the daughter who was aboard and was desperate for information about her condition.
"We love them a lot and we're waiting for them to come back," the twins' younger sister Clara Serrato told NBC4.
Late Friday night, the twins' mother confirmed her daughter Marisa died in the crash.
Jonathan Gutierrez (right), one of two students at Banning High School in Wilmington, was on the bus and told NBC4 the impact was sudden, extremely painful and immediately ignited a fire. Passengers smashed open windows to escape. He told NBC4 that he had planned to sit in the front of the bus, but moved to the back after his friend convinced him to do so. He added that most of the damage occurred in the front of the bus.
"I fell to the ground , cause I was at the edge of the seat. I looked forward to the bus and I just see fire. Just fire, a ball of fire. And then...ball of fire. Everybody screaming and like I was panicking so I just started banging the window to the right," student Karmin Aguilar said. "Everybody, like three people were trying to fit through the window at one time."