Survivors of Thursday’s fatal Orland bus crash were traumatized for a second time overnight, when a similar bus was sent to pick them up from a Red Cross relief center.
“At 1:30 a.m. the exact same bus pulls out in front here. The exact same color, with the exact same decals, same everything. Pulls up honking its horn telling them he’s here to take them home,” said Scott Grendal.
The Glenn County Health and Human Services Director had been awake for 52 hours when he spoke with FOX40 on Friday. He organized support services for crash survivors at the Orland VFW post on Third Street.
“The biggest injury dealt with is the trauma these three dozen high school seniors had to deal with. I have never had to stretch resources to the level that we did. This is the biggest response where we were treating people for emotional problems,” said. Grendal.
Grendal said the bus company was well intentioned, but that the attempt to take them home sent the students into hysteria.
“They witnessed death in mass and the helplessness of not being able to escape, and the moment of realizing they might not survive,” said Grendal.
Grendal and other volunteers worked tirelessly throughout the night to coordinate with law enforcement and school district officials. By 4 p.m. Friday, they moved students out of the Red Cross relief site.
“We had parents who tried very hard to be here but ended up broken down on the side of the road,” said Grendal.
Student survivors made posters and taped them to the walls. Their handwriting thanked volunteers for their kindness and hard work. Three names were also written in cursive on the posters: Samantha Hosea, Elijia Carranza and Michelle Lema.
Grendal said they were survivors who signed the wall.