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Driver targeted school bus in head-on crash

October 20, 2010 12:08:58 AM PDT
The driver of an SUV intentionally hit a school bus head-on as it was exiting the westbound 60 Freeway in Pedley on Wednesday morning, authorities said. A silver Chevrolet HHR entered the freeway going the wrong way just prior to the crash, according to the Riverside County Sheriff's Dept. The incident was reported at 10:45 a.m.

The bus was carrying seven Nueva Vista Continuation High School students. Three students and the two drivers were treated for minor injuries.

The driver, 44, was taken to a local hospital but was expected to survive. He was not identified.

"As soon as we hit, everybody just hit the seat," said Felipe Gama, a student on the bus.

Gama said he and six other students were riding the bus home Wednesday morning. They were getting off the westbound 60 Freeway at Pedley Rd. when the SUV came barreling right at them.

Gama said it looked like the driver of the vehicle was intentionally trying to hit them.

"And the bus driver tried to move out the way so he wouldn't hit him, and the guy still tried to change lanes and hit the bus, and the next thing you know, it just hit us," said Gama.

Only afterward did they find out the California Highway Patrol had taken a report earlier that the same driver was trying to jump off the overpass just prior to the crash. But he couldn't get over the fence.

Perhaps trying to commit suicide, that driver then got back in his vehicle, heading the wrong way on the freeway.

As parents and friends waited to pick up students, they could only wonder about how lucky everyone was Wednesday morning.

"We all wonder what would make a person get to that point where they would want to do something like that," said Riverside resident Leslie Braden.

"I just hope the guy gets some help or something, because it's not right to try to kill yourself, and then hurt somebody else to bring you down with them," said Gama.

The driver could be charged with eight counts of attempted murder.


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