SAN BERNARDINO (CBSLA) — A Greyhound bus bound for Southern California was hit head-on by a tractor trailer Thursday in New Mexico, killing at least six people.
KCAL9’s Nicole Comstock spoke to a Hemet man who came upon the crash site and became a Good Samaritan in the process.
Steering straight into the accident scene, Chris Jones says he couldn’t believe what he was seeing. And there were no ambulances yet on scene.
He was one of the first drivers who left his vehicle in the middle of Interstate 40 to roll up his sleeves and help those who were seriously hurt.
“Just trying to help them, comfort them, calm them down, get them taken care of until EMS got there,” Jones said.
Jones is a native of Southern California. He said his medical training as a Navy veteran and volunteer firefighter proved fortuitous.
His training kicked into high gear as he approached the wreckage.
“I don’t know exactly if people were launched out of the bus or not, all I know is there were people out of the bus, they were climbing out of the bus, they couldn’t get out fast enough,” Jones says.
The bus was carrying 49 passengers and headed across state lines from New Mexico to Phoenix, then to San Bernardino, and eventually to Los Angeles.
Investigators says at least six people were killed and several others seriously injured.
It’s unclear how many if any of the victims were heading home to Los Angeles or the Inland Empire.
“The scene down there is chaos so it’s gonna take investigators quite a while to figure out who was sitting where, who were the drivers, who were the passengers,” said Ray Wilson with the New Mexico State Police.
A preliminary investigation would indicate the tractor trailer crossed the median and collided with the bus head on. The front end of the Greyhound was completely torn away.
As investigators worked to determine what led up to the crash, Jones was still stunned from the experience.
“Trying to get an idea of who was hurt worse,” he says.