LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A Southland high school student who survived last week’s deadly bus crash in Orland gathered Sunday with Humboldt State alumni in a show of support for the victims’ families.
Daedreon Kendrick suffered a concussion, a busted chin and bruising in the horrific crash that took ten lives last Thursday, when a bus carrying students en route to visit the HSU campus was struck by a FedEx tractor-trailer.
But the Middle College High School student told CBS2’s Kara Finnstrom he still plans to go to Humboldt, carrying forward the dreams of those on the bus.
“I flew a few rows forward and that’s how I got this. I don’t know,” Kendrick said, pointing to his injuries.
Kendrick’s mother, Shendonna Robertson, joined him at the gathering, and said she believes her son was on the bus to help others.
“I get emotional, because I know a lot of people lost their families,” she said. “I’m thankful and I’m blessed that my son is here.”
Kendrick said he was able to see through the smoke and open one of the windows students climbed out of.
His remarks came shortly after NTSB investigators said on Sunday that all of the windows on the bus, with the exception of one, could have served as exits – raising questions about why other students reported having to kick out windows to escape.
Investigators also stressed they have not ruled out the possibility the FedEx truck was burning before the crash, as the driver of a Nissan Altima which was also struck reported seeing, although an expert could not corroborate the claims.
“Our fire expert reviewed the median and highway and found no physical evidence of fire before the impact,” NTSB spokesperson Mark Rosekind said at a press conference.
Officials said that driver took cell phone video right after the crash. Investigators are expected to review the footage along with the responding CHP car’s dash cam video.
The NTSB also confirmed its moving numerous investigators into the Los Angeles-area. Some of them will be meeting with Silverado Stages, the motor coach company involved. Others will be doing follow-up interviews with survivors.
A number of local students on a second bus to Humboldt State University arrived at Union Station early Sunday.
Emotional parents with balloons welcomed their kids back home.
“I feel like she [was] born again for me. I feel like I have her, like God gave me her again,” one woman said of a loved one on the bus.
Humboldt State chartered three buses for students to visit its campus, two from Los Angeles and one from Fresno.