Investigators found no signs that a FedEx truck braked before colliding head-on with a tour bus in Northern California, killing 10 people, a National Transportation Safety Board spokesman said Saturday.
The tractor-trailer strayed from the southbound lane at a 10-degree angle, the spokesman said, running over the 58-foot-wide median and onto the northbound lane – but leaving no tire marks behind, NBC News reported.
Tire marks by the bus before the moment of impact stretched for 145 feet, said the NTSB’s Mark Rosekind. The marks indicate that the bus driver reacted to the oncoming truck by braking and steering to the right, he said.
The force of the collision ejected some of the bus passengers, Rosekind said.
The bus, a 2014 model, had been in service for about a month and was equipped with seat belts, Rosekind said.
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Rosekind also said toxicology tests were being conducted on both drivers to determine if drugs or alcohol were a factor in the crash.
Tracking technology on board the tractor-trailer was likely destroyed during a fire, an investigator told NBC News.
The crash occurred about 5:40 p.m. Thursday on Interstate 5 near Orland, when the FedEx truck crossed a median and struck a Nissan Altima and a charter bus carrying dozens of Southern California high school students on their way to visit Humboldt State University.
Rosekind told NBC News that an electronic module inside the delivery truck could give information “about the speed, any hard braking that may have happened.” However, the blaze was so powerful that the device was “probably destroyed” in it, he said.
Rosekind’s comments come after the couple driving the Altima told NBC4 that the FedEx truck was already on fire before it crossed lanes and hit the tour bus.
Bonnie and Joe Duran were driving back to home to the Seattle-area at the time of the crash. They were driving in front of the charter bus.
"The driver (of the Nissan) did report seeing flames that were coming out from the truck tractor cab prior to the crash as it was coming across the median," Rosekind said at the news conference Saturday.
Bonnie Duran said the flames were not coming from the front engine and appeared to be coming from behind the cab.
The Durans were set to be interviewed by CHP investigators Saturday, and could be seen leaving a station Saturday morning.
Seven victims of a fiery bus crash had been identified as of Saturday afternoon. They are Michael Myvette, 25-year-old Mattison Haywood, 18-year-old Adrian Castro, 26-year-old Arthur Arzola, 17-year-old Marisa Serrato, Denise Gomez and Ismael Jimenez.
Four autopsies were completed Friday, and coroners were attempting to complete the remaining five on Saturday. An update was not expected until midweek.