LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The widow of a FedEx driver who triggered a deadly crash last year is speaking out for the first time to CBS2/KCAL9’s Serene Branson.

Tim Evans was headed northbound on the 5 Freeway in Northern California when his FedEx truck crossed a median and crashed into a bus full of students and mentors on a college scouting trip.

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Nine people lost their lives in the fiery aftermath.

Candice Evans said her husband isn’t to blame.

“He had a clean driving record,” she said. “He took his job extremely seriously. He had a lot of integrity when it came to the trucks and the safety checks.”

She said her husband slept at least nine hours before heading to work in Sacramento.

His phone records indicate he wasn’t talking or texting at the time, Candice said.

Candice questions whether something was wrong with the truck or if something caught fire and that may have caused Tim to pass out.

An autopsy revealed Tim died from breathing in fumes and didn’t suffer a medical episode.

His co-workers told her Tim refused to take four trailers before deciding on the ones involved in the crash.

“When was the last time this truck was maintenanced? My husband deadlined four trucks before deciding to come back to Sacramento from Weed, California.”

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She spoke to CBS2/KCAL9’s Serene Branson, while holding on to her husband’s wedding ring. He always wore it around his neck. The chain is charred from the crash but she marvels that “somehow it survived.”

The National Transportation Safety Board said it will be months before they know what went wrong.

John and Carla Haywood of Chino said knowing what caused the crash won’t bring their daughter Mattison back.

“I don’t want people to think we are angry at the driver of FedEx. When these things happen, grief ambushes you and reminds you that it’s important you pray,” John Haywood said. “In every picture, she was smiling – that’s who she was. It’s her heart and her soul.”

An artist and pre-med student, she was a trip chaperon on the bus that day. She had just become engaged to Michael Myvette, who was also killed in the crash.

Charles R. Drew School has started a scholarship in her name.

“Whatever comes out of this, I want to continue her legacy. We want to start with her words, ‘Love is key,’ ” said Carla Haywood, of the phrase Mattison wrote on all her artwork.

Katherine Harvey-Lee is representing the Haywood family in a lawsuit against FedEx. Dozens of suits have now been combined into a join action.

“None of the lawsuits are pursuing a case against the driver himself. This is about a FedEx truck and what that truck did that day,” the attorney said.

FedEx declined an interview with CBS2/KCAL9. It released a statement that said its “heartfelt condolences remain with everyone touched by the accident.”

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“We remain focused on providing support to those affected and cooperating with the authorities as they continue their investigation.”