There are still a lot of unanswered questions about a fatal crash between a school bus, a delivery truck, and a small car that occurred last week in California. The crash resulted in a total of ten fatalities, including the drivers of both the bus and the truck and of students and chaperones on the bus. The causes of the crash are still very unclear. The driver of the car that was first impacted by the truck said that she saw flames emerging as the truck approached her, so investigators are trying to determine whether that is true and whether some malfunction or issue within the truck caused the crash.
Preliminary findings indicate that the truck was not on fire before the crash, although investigators say it has been difficult to determine what went on because of an explosion that took place when the truck and the bus collided.
One major source of evidence may be the black box-style electronic module from the bus. Unfortunately the recording device from the truck as destroyed in the fire, so evidence from that is not available. One issue that has raised a lot of questions is that it does not appear that the truck driver attempted to stop after he began drifting over the center line towards another vehicle, indicating that something may have already been going wrong at the time the vehicle crossed into the wrong lane. Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board will look into this and other possible sources for an explanation, such as blood test results and safety records for the driver and the vehicle.
Source: Ventura County Star, “NTSB: No evidence of pre-impact fire in bus crash,” April 13, 2014.