RIVERSIDE (CBSLA.com) — An Inland Empire teen is calling Thursday’s deadly bus crash near Orland the “worst experience of his life.”
Calvin Aceves says he was asleep on the bus when he awoke to the sound of a big boom and screams.
The Riverside teen said he thought he was dreaming and didn’t react until he saw the bus erupt in flames.
“I felt heat. Once I saw that little explosion, like a ball of fire, I felt it, I felt it,” Aceves said.
He knocked out a window and jumped out just in time.
“After I jumped, I didn’t look back, I just ran. It’s like, you just run for your life. All I was thinking in my head was that this bus is going to explode,” the teen said.
Aceves was traveling with dozens of Southland high school seniors headed to tour Humboldt State University when a FexEx truck slammed into their bus. Ten people were killed in the crash, including three chaperones, the truck and bus drivers and five students. Only three of those deaths have been officially confirmed with dental records.
The teen says the bus had gotten into a minor fender bender while leaving Los Angeles.
Shortly before the crash, Aceves had snapped photos of the inside of the bus. He had just made friends with a boy behind him, El Monte High School senior Adrian Castro, who had walked to the front of the bus to play some music before Aceves fell asleep. Castro is listed among the 10 people who died, but officials have yet to confirm that with dental records.
“On the plane back from Oakland, I cried. I cried, because I saw the road we were on,” Aceves said.
Aceves suffered minor injuries, a twisted ankle and a bruised leg — wounds that will heal. But he says he has wounds that will linger.
He said, “What I got on my thigh, right here, and what I got on my foot, it’ll cure. But what I got inside of me, knowing I talked to those people minutes before their death and how they died, that hurts. That’s what hurts me the most.”
Humboldt State University police have set up an information line for victims and families affected by the crash at (707) 826-6327. Families can also contact the LAUSD at (213) 241-3841.
The Red Cross has set up a hotline at (800) 540-2000 for families affected by the crash. Callers will be connected to local Red Cross chapters where caseworkers will be available to meet families who may need assistance with travel or transportation expenses, as well as counseling and mental health support.
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