Survivor of Fiery Bus Crash to Testify Before CA Senate Committee

Hearing set for 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, January 12
John L. Burton Hearing Room (4203)

SACRAMENTO, CA--- An Oxnard teen who survived the fiery 2014 crash of a tourbus and a FedEx delivery truck that killed 10 people will testify before a California Senate Transportation Committee hearing on bus safety Tuesday.

Santiago Calderon, 19, was one of 39 people injured when the FedEx truck slammed head-on into the bus on Interstate 5 near Orland. Calderon was among prospective students on the way to visit Humboldt State University on April 10, 2014.

Calderon was riding near the back of the bus. When the front of the bus burst into flames, he struggled to find an emergency exit. He was ultimately able to escape through a window, plummeting to the ground and injuring his shoulder. He still suffers emotional trauma.

Calderon is represented in a civil lawsuit against FedEx and the charter bus operator by Christine Spagnoli and Geoffrey Wells of Santa Monica based Greene, Broillet &Wheeler. Wells and Calderon will address the committee in support of SB 247, a bus safety bill introduced by Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens).

SB 247 would require charter bus operators to give passenger safety briefings prior to each trip, similar to the briefing flight attendants give airplane passengers. The instructions would cover use of seatbelts and emergency exits.

"Passengers on this bus weren't ever told how to get out in an emergency," Wells said. "In a situation like this, having emergency exit information can mean the difference between life and death."

The crash has prompted calls for new bus and truck safety regulations. A California Highway Patrol report blamed the FedEx driver for causing the collision when he crossed into oncoming traffic and struck the bus.

Tomorrow's hearing before the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee isscheduled for 1:30 p.m. SB 247 is also slated for a 9:30 a.m. hearing Wednesday before the Senate Energy Committee (Room 3191).