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Fed-Ex Sued for Fatal NorCal Bus Crash

LOS ANGELES (CN) - The mother of a 17-year-old student who died when a Fed-Ex driver lost control of his truck and smashed into a school bus claims in court that the fiery wreck that claimed 10 lives could have been avoided if the carrier had done more to maintain its trucks.

FedEx driver Timothy Evans crossed the median of Interstate 5 near Orland on April 10, colliding head-on with a bus carrying high school students and their chaperones.

Then people died, including five students, three adult chaperones, Evans and the bus driver. The bus was heading to Humboldt State University in Northern California.

Rosa Rivera sued FedEx and others in Superior Court Thursday, on behalf of her late daughter Jennifer Rivera, a Dorsey High School student.

Rivera's attorney told the Los Angeles Times that she is seeking $100 million in general and punitive damages. Jennifer, also identified in the court filing as Jennifer Bonilla, was horrifically burned in the crash and died from her injuries, her mother says.

Rivera says Evan's FedEx truck was on fire before it hit the school bus.

FedEx has "a history of their trucks catching fire, either due to mechanical problems, driver error, or due to improper loading of cargo, yet FedEx has taken no steps to remedy this problem," the complaint states.

Rivera claims that if defendant bus operator Silverado Stages had included more emergency exit doors on the bus, passengers could have escaped.

Named as defendants are FedEx Corp., FedEx Freight, the Estate of Timothy Evans, Silverado Stages and Jose Bonilla.

The mother is represented by King Aminpour of San Diego.

"It is our full intent and desire to ... obtain justice for the families that have been affected by this horrific tragedy," Aminpour told the Times. "We hope to be able to provide answers to the families, and we hope to hold Federal Express accountable ... to prevent something like this from ever happening again."

FedEx spokeswoman Shea Leordeanu said that its "heartfelt condolences remain with everyone touched by this tragic accident."

"We remain focused on providing support to those affected and fully cooperating with the authorities as they conduct their investigation," Leordeanu told the Times. "This is not the time for us to discuss potential litigation."

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