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Fiery Crash Between Fedex Truck & Tour Bus

FedEx Truck with Gavel

The law firm of Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman represents victims of semi-truck crashes, including those involved in a tragic 2014 bus collision with a FedEx truck that killed 10 people. Our truck accident attorneys also have vast experience representing victims of tour bus crashes, and we are tireless advocates for increased truck and bus safety regulations.

Pennsylvania Commercial Vehicle Crash Kills at Least Five People

A massive collision involving three semi-trucks, a tour bus, and a passenger car killed five people, including a nine-year-old boy, and injured at least another 60. The fatal truck crash happened on the Pennsylvania Turnpike in Mount Pleasant Township, Pennsylvania, at around 3:34 am on January 5, 2020.

The bus, traveling from New Jersey to Cincinnati, lost control on a downhill grade before it veered up an embankment and flipped over onto its side. Two tractor-trailers then hit the bus, then those trucks were hit by a third semi-truck and a passenger vehicle. A FedEx semi-truck and two UPS semi-trucks were reportedly involved in the bus collision.

Five people died at the scene:

  • Jaremy Vazquez (9, bus passenger)
  • Eileen Zelis Aria (35, bus passenger)
  • Dennis Kehler (48, UPS driver)
  • Daniel Kepner (53, UPS driver)
  • Shuang Qing Feng (58, bus driver)

Approximately 60 patients were taken to Excela Frick Hospital, UPMC Somerset, and Forbes Hospital following the commercial vehicle accident. Injuries ranged from mild to critical.

Bus Struck a Center Barrier While Traveling Downhill

Officials say the bus was in the left lane when it struck a center barrier as it traveled along a four-degree downhill grade four miles west of the Donegal exit. The tour bus then swerved to the right, traveled up a steep embankment, rolled onto its left side, and slid back onto the turnpike, finally stopping across two lanes.

A FedEx truck and a UPS truck then hit the Ohio Coach tour bus, and a Mercedes hit the UPS truck. A second UPS tractor-trailer hit the Mercedes. Jaremy Vazquez, Eileen Zelis Aria and Shuang Qing Feng were all thrown from the bus in the collision. The two drivers in the first UPS truck were also killed.

Z&D Tours operates the bus, which was carrying more than 50 passengers. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is investigating the crash. Some witnesses told investigators that the bus was traveling at a high speed before it crashed.

Orland FedEx Crash

Baum Hedlund has been retained to handle claims against FedEx for a horrific tragedy in which a FedEx truck crashed into a chartered tour bus loaded with Southern California high school students bound for Humboldt State University’s Preview Plus program that left 5 students and 5 adults dead on Thursday, April 10, 2014. The crash occurred near the small town of Orland, California roughly 90 miles north of Sacramento.

Read Investigation Updates Below

According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and witnesses, the FedEx truck veered sharply from southbound lanes, crossed a 58-foot median collided head-on with a Silverado Stages charter bus loaded with 48 people, including 44 Southern California high school students. The crash resulted in a fireball that left trapped passengers on the bus with no choice but to kick out windows to escape the wreckage. Survivors report one heroic student helping to save others, even as he was engulfed in flames. Over 30 people were injured in the crash. A local resident who saw the crash as he was mowing his lawn, heard the loud boom when they collided. He says he is haunted by the screams of the victims.

At this time, authorities are continuing their investigation. Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman will provide updates on the NTSB’s investigation as they happen.

FedEx Truck Crash Investigation

Authorities are looking into what might have caused the FedEx truck to cross the median into oncoming traffic. Below are some of the main areas of emphasis the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has focused on thus far.

The FedEx Truck

  • The truck was driven by 32-year-old Tim Evans, who had been driving professionally for several years, according to his family.
  • The truck was in southbound lanes when, for reasons unknown, it veered sharply out of the southbound lanes, cross over the roughly 60-foot grassy median area, and collided head-on with the bus in the northbound lanes.
  • So far, investigators have reported that the truck did not leave any tire or skid marks, suggesting the Fedex truck did not brake at any time prior to the head-on impact with the bus.
  • The NTSB will be reviewing maintenance records, Evans’ medical history, experience, distracted driving issues, and potential impairment.
  • The truck sideswiped a Nissan Altima passenger vehicle in the northbound lanes prior to impact with the bus.
  • The driver of the Altima, who survived after sustaining minor injuries, told investigators she observed what appeared to be flames under the FedEx truck before impact. However, investigators have so far been unable to corroborate this information with any physical evidence.
  • The data box recorder on the FedEx truck was destroyed in the crash. Actions will be taken to analyze the speed and maneuvering of the truck prior to impact.

Orland Bus Crash Shows That Legislators Need to Address Bus Safety

The Bus

  • The bus, which was a 2014 Setra model, was operated by Silverado Stages and driven by Talalelei Lealao-Taiao. The bus had only been in service for a month prior to the accident. The bus did have three-point seatbelts.
  • The bus was traveling in northbound lanes when the southbound FedEx truck crossed over the median and slammed into it, head-on.
  • Lealao-Taiao had only been driving a short time after relieving a previous bus driver during a stop in Sacramento.
  • Skid marks indicate that Lealao-Talao engaged the brakes and made an emergency evasive maneuver to the right prior to the impact with the truck. Over 145 feet of skid marks indicate that Lealao-Talao tried to avoid being hit in contrast to the truck which left no brake marks at all.
  • Some victims in the bus were ejected upon impact.
  • Because the front exit was blocked by flames, survivors had to kick out windows in the back of the bus in order to escape. Aside from the exit at the front of the bus, there was only one other handicap door, which was locked. The bus driver would have had to unlock it.
  • The data box for the bus was recovered and will be analyzed by investigators.

FedEx Truck – Tour Bus Crash Updates

June 1, 2014
Parents of a FedEx Truck Crash Victim Create Foundation in Memory of Their Loving Daughter

Mattison Haywood was a talented young woman of strong Christian faith whose life tragically ended far too early. Her parents, John Haywood Jr. and Carla Haywood created The Mattison L. Haywood “LoveisKey” Foundation to honor her life, her principles, and her belief that “love is key.”

November 21, 2014
Widow of Deceased FedEx Truck Driver Believes Mechanical Issue May Be a Cause in the Orland Crash

The widow of deceased FedEx truck driver Tim Evans believes that a mechanical issue may have caused the fatal crash that killed her husband and nine other people. Whatever caused the crash, the parents of one of the victims say they feel no anger toward Evans or his widow; they simply want to carry on their daughter’s legacy.

October 30, 2014
Family of Deceased Bus Driver Sues FedEx — State Judicial Officials Coordinate Lawsuits for Pretrial in Los Angeles Superior Court

The family of bus driver Talalelei Lealao-Taiao has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against FedEx, claiming negligence caused the April 10 crash between a FedEx truck and a tour bus driven by Lealao-Taiao.

September 15, 2014
Grandmother of FedEx Truck Crash Victim Heads to Orland Seeking Closure

On April 10 of this year, Debra Loyd lost her grandson Michael Lee Myvett in an accident involving a FedEx tractor-trailer and a tour bus. Myvett was one of 10 others who lost their lives in the crash, which occurred on Interstate 5 in Orland, California. Now months after the tragedy, Debra Loyd will head to Orland for the first time to see the crash site, meet with those first responders who provided help to victims, and hopefully find some closure for herself and her family.

August 14, 2014
Hearing Set to Determine if FedEx Truck Crash Lawsuits will be Consolidated in Los Angeles

The accident attorneys at Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman have filed a petition on behalf of several victims of the April 10, 2014 crash between a FedEx truck and a Silverado Stages tour bus. The petition seeks to consolidate all cases stemming from the crash into one courtroom in Los Angeles. A judge will rule on the petition on August 25.

July 14, 2014, | Los Angeles, California
FedEx Truck Crash Litigation Update – Latest Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed

The parents of a young woman whose life was tragically cut short in a fatal truck accident involving the FedEx tractor-trailer in Orland, California, have filed a wrongful death lawsuit in Los Angeles, California.

Mattison Haywood would have been 26 years old on July 6th of this year. She and her fiancé, Michael Myvett, had just recently gotten engaged during a Christmas trip to Paris, France. They were sitting together near the front of a Silverado Stages tour bus bound for the campus of Humboldt State University, acting as chaperones for the group of students from Southern California on their way to experience life on a college campus.

May 28, 2014, | Los Angeles, California
FedEx Truck Bus Crash Survivor Sues FedEx and Silverado Stages, Claiming Negligence

A 17-year-old high school student from Los Angeles has filed a personal injury lawsuit against Federal Express Corporation (FedEx) and Silverado Stages, Inc., claiming that negligence on the part of both parties led to a horrific crash on April 10, 2014, between a FedEx truck and a Silverado Stages tour bus. The lawsuit, which was filed on May 28, 2014, Superior Court of the State of California, County of Los Angeles, names Delaware-based Federal Express Corporation, Arkansas-based Federal Express Freight, and California-based Silverado Stages Inc. as defendants.

May 9, 2014, | Los Angeles, California
FedEx Truck Bus Crash Survivor Talks to the LA Times About the Tragedy

Baum Hedlund client, Dae’Breon Kendrick, was recently interviewed by the Los Angeles Times about the crash involving a FedEx truck and a bus in which he was traveling. He was traveling on Interstate 5, on his way to Humboldt State University in order to take part in an orientation program, when a FedEx truck, pulling a double trailer, crossed the center median, into oncoming traffic, hitting a car and then his bus. Ten people died and dozens were seriously injured.

April 26, 2014, | Orland, California
Preliminary Report on Orland FedEx Truck Crash Released, No Word on Cause

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released their preliminary report on the April 10 crash between a tour bus filled with Southern California high school students and a double trailer FedEx truck. NTSB officials have yet to state what caused the truck to cross over the median into oncoming traffic. The preliminary report does include timeline information on the events leading up to the devastating accident.

April 25, 2014, | Orland, California
The city of Orland Discusses Memorial for Victims of Fatal Bus Crash

City officials in Orland are proposing ideas to honor the victims of the devastating bus crash that happened just over two weeks ago. On April 10, a FedEx truck crossed over the grassy median of Interstate 5 and collided head-on with a tour bus filled with Southern California high school students on their way to visit the campus of Humboldt State University. Five students were killed, along with three adult chaperones, the bus driver, and the FedEx truck driver.

“In addition to providing some level of catharsis to the community, the families of those who lost loved ones, should they ever determine to come to the site of this tragedy, might find some level of comfort in knowing that this community, my community, the citizens of Orland, felt deeply enough to establish a memorial to these folks, whom we did not know, but nevertheless have felt so deeply the impact of their tragic loss,” said David Allee, a member of the Orland Economic Commission.

The city of Orland is considering a number of ideas on how best to honor the victims. Some have suggested a plaque at Memorial Hall, which served as the Red Cross shelter in the wake of the tragedy. Others have said excess funds raised for the memorial could be used to establish a scholarship fund to be given to high school seniors from the crash victims’ schools who have declared an intent to attend Humboldt State. The Glenn County Transcript reports that city officials will continue to discuss some form of memorial to the April 10 crash at future meetings.

April 18, 2014
The Dangers of Double Trailers

Double trailers, or longer combination vehicles (LCVs) as they are often called, are likely to have accident involvement rates at least 11 percent higher than single tractor-trailers, according to the Coalition Against Bigger Trucks (CABT). LCVs also create a larger crash footprint, due to their length and the potential for trailer separation. It is also worth noting that LCVs have unusually poor stability performance, as they are prone to rearward amplification, or a “crack the whip effect,” when control of the rig is lost.

April 17, 2014
CHP Conducts FedEx Crash Re-Creation to Assist Investigation

The California Highway Patrol (CHP) is conducting an accident re-creation today using similar vehicles to the FedEx truck and the tour bus that crashed last Thursday near Orland. Ten people, including five students, three adult chaperones, the bus driver, and the FedEx truck driver were killed in the accident. Dozens of others were injured.

Officials have said the damage to both vehicles from last Thursday’s accident is so bad that it has made the crash investigation quite difficult. According to KCRTV, the data recorders for both vehicles, referred to as “black boxes,” were badly burned, which will make data retrieval a challenge.

The CHP is hoping that their crash simulation will shed some light on what went wrong. The CHP’s Multidisciplinary Accident Investigation Team is using what has been described as duplicates to both the FedEx truck, which was hauling two trailers and the tour bus. “They’re looking at speeds – what the drivers were able to see. As well as brake applications on the bus and tire friction marks,” said CHP Northern Division officer Lacey Heitman, who added that the simulation will “provide a lot of vital information as to how the vehicles reacted during the collision.”

April 17, 2014
Orland Bus Crash Shows That Legislators Need to Address Bus Safety

Tragedies like the Orland FedEx crash often create a stir in all of us to do something to prevent these types of accidents and mitigate the harm that they can cause. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), which is still in the beginning stages of their investigation into the Orland tragedy, has been making bus safety recommendations to lawmakers for the last 15 years. Many of these recommendations still haven’t been adequately addressed.

April 15, 2014
FedEx Truck Driver Had Clean Record

The FedEx truck driver involved in last Thursday’s crash with a tour bus loaded with high school students apparently had a clean driving record, according to the Sacramento Bee, though it is unclear how experienced he was as a commercial driver. Timothy Paul Evans, 32, of Elk Grove, was driving the double trailer FedEx truck southbound on Interstate 5 when it suddenly veered across the median, clipped a northbound Nissan Altima, and smashed into the northbound bus packed with students.

At this time, authorities are uncertain what caused the FedEx truck to veer into oncoming traffic. Investigators are looking into numerous possibilities, including whether a mechanical problem with the FedEx truck played a role. Federal investigators will also look at surveillance video of the FedEx truck and look back at 72 hours of cell phone records to look for clues. The day of the crash outside of Orland in Glenn County, FedEx driver Tim Evans drove from Sacramento to Humboldt County to make a delivery in the town of Weed, where he also picked up two new trailers before heading back South. The route Evans was taking on that date has been described as “grueling” by a trucker familiar with the route.

April 14, 2014
After Fatal FedEx Truck Crash, Safety Advocates Call for Barrier Rails Along California Highways

As an investigation into last week’s fatal crash in Orland between a tour bus and a tractor-trailer continues, safety advocates are voicing concerns over the lack of barriers dividing traffic on California’s rural highways. The crash, which involved a FedEx double trailer truck and a tour bus, left 10 people dead and injured dozens more. Authorities say the FedEx truck crossed over the median separating northbound and southbound traffic and collided head-on with the tour bus, causing both vehicles to erupt in flames.



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