Driver among the people killed on Highway 99 in Fresno after he swerves to avoid an overturned SUV
A Greyhound bus traveling to Sacramento from Los Angeles crashed on a highway in California’s Central Valley early Thursday, killing six and seriously injuring nine others.
The bus, carrying 36 people, struck an SUV that had overturned in front of it, slammed into a concrete center divider and clipped another vehicle shortly after 2 a.m. just outside downtown Fresno, California Highway Patrol Officer Axel Reyes said.
The bus went off the right shoulder of the highway and down a 15-foot embankment before hitting a eucalyptus tree and coming to rest on a freeway off-ramp with its front end smashed and tree branches jutting into the vehicle.
Twisted pieces of metal, broken glass and torn clothing littered the ground around the wreckage.
Arlen Snider, who had been traveling from Phoenix to Sacramento to visit his mother, said he was asleep in the middle section of the bus when the crash occurred. He awoke to the smell of smoke and injured passengers around him.
“I woke up on the floor of the bus and started helping people off the bus,” Snider, who escaped uninjured, said after arriving at Sacramento’s bus terminal.
The six dead people included four women and two men. Three of the women were in the overturned SUV, according to officials.
Nine people were taken to hospitals with moderate to critical injuries, Reyes said.
The bus driver, who was among the dead, was identified as James Jewett, 57, of Sacramento. Jewett died instantly of massive injuries, said Fresno County Coroner Dr. David Hadden.
“The front of the bus was destroyed and the front part of the bus was pushed into his driver’s seat,” Hadden said.
The other five people killed had not yet been identified.
“I had just woke up and I heard a boom once, and a boom again and the next thing I know we were down this embankment,” Linda Gee, a passenger on the bus, told KMPH-TV in Fresno.
“I’m alive and I thank God I’m alive,” she said. “There was just bleeding everywhere.”
The blue Chevy Trailblazer that overturned in the fast lane also landed at the bottom of the embankment, its roof caved in and doors crushed.
Hadden said his office planned toxicology reports on the drivers of the bus and SUV, with results expected in about a week. There were no obvious signs that anyone had been drinking, such as bottles in the vehicles, he said.
The most seriously injured patients were taken to Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno, where attending surgeon John Bilello said one man remained in critical condition. The injuries included pelvic fractures and collapsed lungs.
“They were in serious pain when they got here. There was definitely some emotional shock and fear,” Bilello said.
The bus departed Los Angeles late Wednesday and stopped in Fresno before continuing on its route to Sacramento with 35 passengers on board, Greyhound spokeswoman Bonnie Bastian said. It was on its way to Madera for one of about eight scheduled stops when the crash occurred.
A relief bus was sent to take nine passengers who wanted to continue on to their destinations.
The two northbound lanes of Highway 99, a major route through the San Joaquin Valley, were closed for several hours after the crash.
Associated Press Writers Judy Lin and Don Thompson in Sacramento and Sudhin Thanawala in San Francisco also contributed to this report.
More Related Stories
- If Alex Pareene was a cable news executive...
- El Salvador court delays ruling on abortion case while woman's life hangs in the balance
- UK officials: Radical Islam behind London attack
- Pa. governor "can't find" any Latinos to work in his administration
- London machete attack could be linked to terrorism
- Conservative group blames military sexual assault on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal
- Lois Lerner, IRS disaster
- Donald Rumsfeld worried that marriage equality will lead to polygamy
- Experts: Fox News spying scandal a game-changer
- San Francisco Giant Jeremy Affeldt apologizes for homophobic past
- 9-year-old slams Rahm over Chicago schools
- Stockholm riots rage for third day
- Wall Street firm's "Golden Pitchbook" is totally sexist, full of lies
- Must-see morning clip: Toronto's eccentric and allegedly crack-smoking mayor
- Federal court strikes down Arizona abortion ban
- Jodi Arias: I deserve a second chance
- Oklahoma residents return home to pick up the pieces
- Florida man with connection to Tsarnaev killed by FBI
- FBI identifies 5 Benghazi suspects
- Here come the tornado truthers. Already
- Peace Corps to allow gay couples to volunteer together
Featured Slide Shows
The week in 10 picsclose X
- 1 of 11
Lisa Montgomery embraces her nephew Thursday after a tornado tore apart her home in Cleburne, Texas. The twister killed six people and destroyed entire swaths of the North Texas town.
Credit: AP/LM Otero
Jack McMahon, the defense attorney for abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, speaks outside the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia Tuesday. His client was convicted of killing three babies in his clinic, and will serve multiple life sentences.
Credit: AP/Matt Rourke
A photo taken Monday captures Vice President Joe Biden's response to a Milwaukee second-grader's innovative proposal to end America's epidemic of gun violence. This guy!
Credit: AP/Jenny Aicher
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., flanked by a grouper-eyed Michele Bachmann, addresses the IRS' admission that it targeted Tea Party groups in advance of the 2012 election. In an op-ed for CNN Thursday, the Kentucky senator slammed the president for his faux outrage.
Credit: AP/Molly Riley
Ousted IRS chief Steven Miller is sworn in on Capitol Hill Friday. Miller testified before the House Ways and Means Committee on the extra scrutiny the agency gave conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.
Credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite
Attorney General Eric Holder pauses as he testifies on Capitol Hill before the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday. Holder is under fire, among other things, for the Justice Department's gathering of phone records at the Associated Press.
Credit: AP/Carolyn Kaster
O.J. Simpson sits during an evidentiary hearing at Clark County District Court in Las Vegas, Nev., Thursday. Simpson, who is currently serving a nine-to-33-year sentence in state prison for armed robbery and kidnapping, is using a writ of habeas corpus to seek a new trial.
Credit: AP/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Jeff Scheid
Major Tom to ground control: On Sunday astronaut Chris Hadfield recorded the first music video from space, a cover of David Bowie's "Space Oddity."
Credit: AP/NASA/Chris Hadfield
When it rains it pours. President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference Thursday with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, inexplicably inspiring an #umbrellagate Twitter meme.
Credit: AP/Jacquelyn Martin
A smoke plume rises high above a road block at the intersection of County A and Ross Road east of Solon Springs, Wis., Tuesday. No injuries were reported, but the the wildfire caused evacuations across northwestern Wisconsin.
Credit: AP/The Duluth News-Tribune/Clint Austin
Recent Slide Shows
- 1 of 11