Loved Ones Left with Unanswered Questions After Bus Crashes, Killing 5 People

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MERCED COUNTY -- It was a mapped out road trip from Mexico to Pasco, Washington, with stops along the way in Los Angeles, Livingston and Sacramento.

Just a few miles from the second stop in Livingston is when disaster happened. A charter bus driven by Mario David Vasquez, with dozens on board, veered off Highway 99 by Hammett Avenue hitting a sign pole head on. The bus nearly split in half, killing five people and injuring many others.

"I knew something was wrong when he didn't come back in the morning, he didn't wake me up," said Vasquez's granddaughter, Denise Menjivar.

The violent crash happened around 3:30 Tuesday morning. The California Highway Patrol and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating why Vasquez ran off the road. His granddaughter said he wouldn't drive if he couldn't.

"He's very responsible. When he got tired he told the other driver 'you can take over from here' because he knew it was important for him to come home," said Menjivar.

The Mexican Consulate in Natomas is working with the Consulate in Fresno to help the victims' families with everything from financial assistance to legal advice to even bringing bodies back to Mexico.

For loved ones there are many questions. Twelve-year-old passenger Jennifer Rivera was on the bus with her two uncles. When asked if she saw them she said, "No, I don't know what happened to them."