ORLAND, Calif. - An Orland man who said he witnessed the events leading up to Thursday's fiery crash on Interstate 5 recalled his account to National Transportation Safety Board and CHP officials at his home near the crash site Sunday afternoon.
Ryan Householder said he was mowing his lawn when he heard brakes on the roadway and looked up just in time to see the entire tragic event unfold.
He said it appeared to him that the FedEx truck was attempting to move from the slow lane to the fast lane to pass another vehicle, but when the driver noticed he was about to hit cars behind him, he made the decision to use the median to avoid a collision.
Householder said he saw the truck careen across the median into the northbound lanes. At that point he saw the truck make an attempt to cut back onto the median but said the driver was unable to do so before slamming head on into the tour bus carrying high school students and chaperones to a college preview event at Humboldt State University.
The front of the truck and bus exploded into flames on impact. Nine people died at the scene, and another died later. Dozens were injured.
Householder also contradicted accounts from the driver of a white Altima involved in the crash that the FedEx truck was on fire prior to the crash.
He said he has spoken to various newspapers about his version of the events and is exhausted from all of the attention. He also said the memories of that day have been weighing on him heavily and he hoped delivering new information to federal and state investigators would bring him some relief.