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, says 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 said 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.
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 said 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 said.
Jonathan Gutierrez, one of two students at Banning High School in Wilmington, was on the bus and said the impact was sudden, extremely painful and immediately ignited a fire. Passengers smashed open windows to escape. He said 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," Gutierrez said. "Everybody, like three people were trying to fit through the window at one time."