Grant High School Students Were on the Bus that Crash in NorCal

Ten now confirmed dead, five adults and five students who were on their way to Humboldt State University.

Twitter photo of the Fed Ex truck and charter bus on fire near Orland. The bus was carrying students from Grant High School.
Twitter photo of the Fed Ex truck and charter bus on fire near Orland. The bus was carrying students from Grant High School.

Originally posted at 8:33 a.m. April 11, 2014. 

** Editor's Note:  This is a breaking news story and information is changing quickly. We will continue to update this story as more details become available. 

Five students and five adults were killed when a bus ferrying Southland students -- including some from Grant High School -- scheduled to visit Humboldt State University collided with a big rig in Northern California, sparking a spectacular fire, authorities said today.

The adults killed in the crash included the two drivers and the three chaperones accompanying Los Angeles-area high school seniors, the California Highway Patrol reported. A CHP dispatcher said five students were confirmed among the dead, along with the drivers of both vehicles.

None of the victims has been identified.

The students were scheduled to visit Humboldt State University in Arcata when their bus, which was chartered by the university, collided with the big rig on Interstate 5 near the town of Orland around 5:30 p.m. Thursday. The 48 occupants included 44 students, according to the Los Angeles Unified School District.

The LAUSD said that on the bus were 19 students from 16 LAUSD schools -- San Fernando, Grant, Dorsey, Fremont, City of Angels, Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools, Manual Arts, Banning, Carson, Chavez, Diego Rivera, Belmont, Wilson, Chatsworth, Jefferson, and Middle College.

Counselors will be at each campus today to assist students and parents, according to LAUSD officials.

CHP spokeswoman Tracy Hoover said 34 of the bus occupants were hospitalized. Other CHP dispatchers said more than 15 of those patients were being treated for major injuries.

The collision occurred when a southbound FedEx big rig towing two trailers crossed into the northbound lanes, sideswiping a car and colliding head-on with the tour bus, around 5:30 p.m. Thursday.

The tour bus was carrying students who were en route to a campus visit at Humboldt State University in the city of Arcata.

Jonathan Gutierrez, a student at Banning High who was aboard the bus, tweeted that he had sustained "bruised leg, eyebrow cut open, scratches all over my arm & all my stuff that I packed is burned. i'm beyond thankful that I'm still here."

The bus was carrying 48 people, including three chaperones and the driver.

The injured were being treated at five area hospitals, Joyce Lopes, the Humboldt State vice-president for administrative affairs said. She said the university had chartered three buses for the campus tour. One was for students from Fresno. The other two carried students from Los Angeles.

Lopes said the students had been assigned to buses "largely, but not entirely" on an alphabetical basis. Some students with names earlier in the alphabet had left Los Angeles on the second bus, she said, adding that the buses had been due to arrived at the university around 7 p.m. Thursday.

The second L.A. bus arrived safely, and counselors were made available for the students, Lopes said.

LAUSD spokesman Tommy Chang said the principals of the involved schools have been informed of developments.

Hoover, the CHP spokeswoman, said the collision sequence began with the big rig crossing into the northbound lanes for an unknown reason, side-swiping a white sedan and then colliding with the bus. This was followed by an "immediate explosion," she said.

The bus was owned by Silverado Stages of San Luis Obispo. A statement on the company's website said it was helping authorities gather information regarding the accident.

"Our top priority is making sure the injured are being cared for," the statement said.

Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board were on sent to the site.

Humboldt State University said the prospective students were en route to a spring preview day scheduled for today -- part of a two-day visit to the Arcata campus.

The students were participants in the university-funded Preview Plus program, which brings low-income and first-generation prospective students from the Los Angeles and San Francisco areas to the campus, according to Humboldt State.

Families of students who may have been affected were advised to contact university police at (707) 826-6327 for further information or guidance. The Red Cross has established a support site in Orland for victims of the crash at the Orland Veterans Memorial Hall.

The American Red Cross was assisting in the reunification of students and parents, and it appeared that the parents of some of the students had been re-united with their children. Banning High's Jonathan Gutierrez tweeted at 2:44 a.m.,  "so relieved to have my dad here."

--City News Service

Jeff April 11, 2014 at 12:32 PM
These are not pleasant news stories and they are already poorly covered by our regular media. We know that there was a bus crash and students , chaperones and drivers were injured. Wait until you have all the facts before going forward past that stage. These are not just news stories they are about people, children losing their lives and being injured. It may seem like I am being harsh but the Patch isn't the same caliber as the Los Angeles Times or Los Angeles Daily News , try and be better. You reach the locals who have friends and families that go to these schools. People are scared and genuinely worried. As a parent of two students you can't help but worry. We have friends that are now not going to allow their kid on field trips because of this. Cover it from a different angle. Straight reporting is best left to those that have deadlines go for the human interest and how it effects the community. The Patch is a community based news service. Interview those in the community. Serve the community instead if just reporting the news.
David Ogilvy April 11, 2014 at 01:18 PM
This half-assed "reporting" is the result of Patch outsourcing their content creation to "news aggregators" in…India. No on-scene personnel, no cultural sensitivity, no "community-based" anything. If you want to know what's going on in Mumbai, or where Lisa Sarkin is gobbling up pizzas, then Patch is your place. Anything else, forget it.
Penny Arévalo April 11, 2014 at 01:21 PM
Guys, this isn't the place. People are grieving. Those affected need to be surrounded in love by their community. Go ahead and start a speak out on the boards (middle column of the page) and let it rip.
Penny Arévalo April 11, 2014 at 01:56 PM
Here's the complete list of schools (including Grant) -- La Sierra High -- Adolfo Camarillo High -- Alliance Judy Ivie Burton Tech -- Ulysses S. Grant Senior High -- Oxnard High -- Eastside High -- John C. Fremont Senior High -- El Monte High -- West Ranch High -- School for the Visual Arts and -- Environmental Charter -- Manual Arts Senior High -- Burroughs High -- Mayfair High -- Phineas Banning Senior High -- Carson Senior High -- Cesar E. Chavez Learning Academy -- California Academy of Mathematics -- Pacifica High -- Pioneer High -- Century High -- Phineas Banning Senior High -- Alliance Media Arts and Entert -- Susan Miller Dorsey Senior High -- Renaissance Arts Academy -- Polytechnic High -- Valhalla High -- Gompers Preparatory Academy -- Animo Inglewood Charter High -- Woodrow Wilson Senior High -- Middle College High -- Palm Desert High -- Animo Jackie Robinson Charter -- Downey High -- Loara High -- Marshall Fundamental -- Norte Vista High -- Pomona Senior High


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