Wednesday, November 22, 2017
Fatal California Bus Crash Claims Ten Lives
By Princess Manasseh LA Sentinel Contributing Writer
Published April 17, 2014


Bus_crash2- ENGAGED: “At the end. I’m so glad that the Lord took them both at the same time.” Said Michael Mayvett’s grandmother of he and his Fiancée Mattison Haywood PHOTO: Facebook

Bus_crash4- TWINS: Marisa Serrato (right) perished in the accident leaving her twin sister Marisol (left) behind to grieve her loss PHOTO: Facebook

Plans for the future end in tragedy 

En route to planning futures, the lives of forty-nine individuals were forever changed when a collision turned a charter bus into a fiery prison where ten perished.

In Orland, California, 100 miles north of Sacramento, a FedEx truck traveling Southbound on Interstate 5, abandoned its lane and headed into oncoming traffic on the divider-less highway for unknown reasons.

The bus it hit was chartered by Humboldt State University and was carrying 44 Southern California high school students on their way for a campus tour of the University – which they had all been admitted to. 

In addition to the students, the bus was carrying 3 adult chaperons, bringing the passenger count to 48 including the driver. 

But the driver, all three adult chaperons, and five students never made it to the University, they perished in the fire along with the driver of the FedEx truck. 

A horrific tragedy, the details of which are still being unraveled, has left a number of communities grieving.

“…The soul of the CSU has been cut deeply by this horrific accident,” said California State University (CSU) Chancellor Timothy White. 

All throughout the Southland high school communities are grieving from San Diego to Riverside Counties where those killed in the fatal crash were from. 

Ismael Jimenez 18, was a senior at Amino Inglewood Charter High School.  A football player, Jimenez was athletic and intelligent – a good student, popular on campus among his peers as well as with the faculty.   

Passengers who survived the crash say Jimenez acted quickly when the accident happened. As the bus filled with smoke, Jimenez kicked out a window and began lifting fellow passengers to safety.

“Ismael will be remembered as someone who forever affected the lives of young people he barely knew.  He was indeed a hero,” said Green Dot Public Schools CEO Marco Pertuzzi. 

Among the chaperons were Michael Myvett and Mattison Haywood who were engaged to be married.  Myvett had popped the question just four months before on a December vacation in Paris.  Friends and family of the couple say the two did everything together and were inseparable.  “At the end, I’m so glad that the Lord took them both at the same time,” admitted Mayvett’s grandmother Debra Loyd.         

Myvett, an alumnus of Humboldt, had a passion for helping children.  He worked at the Center for Autism and Related Disorders in Torrance, connecting with the kids “ on a level few others could,” relayed the center’s operations manager Kyle Farris in a statement.

Seventeen-year-old twins Marisa and Marisol Serrato of Norte Vista High School in Riverside came into the world five minutes apart.   Now the sisters, together since birth, have been separated by this tragedy.  In a last minute change, Marisol was placed on the second bus heading to the Northern California campus, her sister Marisa’s life was taken in the accident. 

After the accident, 31 passengers were hospitalized, some taken away in ground ambulances and others air lifted by helicopter. Therapy and counseling has been made available for all those involved as well as the students back at the high schools who lost classmates and friends.

Investigators are still looking into what caused the FedEx truck to cross the median.  Blood sample have been drawn and results of the toxicology report are still pending. 

Though over a hundred feet of skid marks provide evidence of the charter bus driver Talalelei Lealao-Taiao’s attempts to stop and swerve her vehicle out of the way, the FedEx truck left no such skid marks leaving sleep or another form of unconsciousness still a possibility in this 5:30 p.m. head on collision. 

A fund has been started to help families of the victims cover funeral costs and other expenses during this time of bereavement.  To donate visit  Checks are also accepted made out to Sharefest with “Humboldt bus crash victims assistance fund” in the memo line. Send checks to Sharefest Community Development, 3480 Torrance Blvd. No. 110, Torrance, CA 90503.






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