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Fatal bus crash: Coroner positively identifies three of 10 victims

April 15, 2014|By Christine Mai-Duc

The coroner in Glenn County released the names Tuesday of three of the 10 victims of a fiery crash last week between a FedEx truck and a charter bus.

Sheriff-Coroner Larry Jones confirmed that Talalelei Feleni Lealao-Taiao, 53, the bus driver; Michael Lee Myvett Jr., 29, a chaperon; and Ismael Jimenez, 18, a senior at Animo Inglewood Charter High School, were killed in the crash.

Family members of the three victims and the driver’s employer had confirmed to reporters that they had died, but authorities had to rely on dental records and DNA samples to identify and release most of the bodies, which had been burned beyond recognition.

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All the autopsies were completed by Sunday, Chief Deputy Coroner Richard Warren said, and a forensic dentist began the process of matching the remains to dental records that day.

Causes of death will not be released for up to six weeks, pending the results of toxicology tests.

One of the victims died at UC Davis Medical Center last week; he was identified as Arthur Arzola, 29, a chaperon for the trip. The other nine died in Glenn County.

Until now, many of the victims had been identified by their families, who have been organizing memorials and vigils.

Among those identified by relatives were Mattison Haywood, Myvett’s fiance; Marisa Serrato, a student at Norte Vista High School; and Adrian Castro, 19, an El Monte High School student.

Calvin Aceves, who survived the crash, told a crowd Monday night at El Monte High School that he sat in front of Castro on the bus and described the teen as "nice," according to video posted by KTLA-TV.

Officials were still trying to determine what caused the crash. The California Highway Patrol said it was seeking witnesses, as well as photos and videos.


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