School Bus Crash: Why did this happen? How could it happen? - Los Angeles News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

From Tony McEwing

School Bus Crash: Why did this happen? How could it happen?

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This was supposed to be a happy trip filled with high hopes and dreams for a much brighter future than many of these kids had seen in the past.  And now, for five of those students, sadly, there will be no future. And for the families left behind, years of heartache and perhaps hard questions that might never be adequately answered. Why did this happen? How could it happen?

48 students were on that ill-fated charter bus headed to Humboldt State University. 19 of them were from LAUSD. Some of them tweeted out pictures from inside the bus before the accident. Others reportedly listened to music.  I'm certain there was pleasant conversation, doubtlessly some laughing and joking. At least one student was preparing to take a little nap and had already begun to doze off. And suddenly, everything changed in an instant. 

As best as anyone can tell, a FedEx big rig traveling south on Interstate 5 crossed over a fairly substantial median into the northbound lanes slamming into the charter bus and forever changing the lives of dozens of families. In addition to the five students killed, three adult chaperones also lost their lives as did the drivers of both the truck and the bus. Dozens of others on the bus suffered varying degrees of injury, with a few students miraculously walking away physically unscathed. A third vehicle was also involved in the crash.  But also lost in this tragedy were an untold number of unfulfilled dreams and unrealized expectations and aspirations.

These hopeful high school seniors were participating in a program primarily for low income and first-generation college bound students that gave them an opportunity to tour a prospective university, in this case Humboldt State. The program has been around for 25 years. What's more, many of these kids are among the very few in their families, if not the first, to ever attend college. A fact that makes what is already an almost incomprehensible tragedy all the more disheartening and devastating.

A swarm of investigators is already on the scene in Orland, about 100 miles north of Sacramento, trying to answer the many questions raised by the tragedy. Today, as I think about the lives lost and forever changed by this crash and pause to pray for the families, I will also ponder what I always do in situations like this. That life is unfathomably fragile and frequently all too fleeting.  And that the only thing any of us can really do is live life to the fullest whenever we can, while we can.

Tony McEwing co-anchors FOX 11 Morning News at 4:30 am and provides news updates for the Emmy award winning Good Day LA, broadcast weekdays from 7:00 - 10:00 am. He also co-anchors the FOX 11 10 am News and the FOX 11 News at Noon.
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