A bus carrying students from a San Diego college was rear-ended by a car in Chino Hills, killing the driver of the car in a fiery crash, Chino Valley Fire Department officials said.
The crash happened at approximately 1:20 a.m. Sunday on southbound State Route 71 when a speeding Volkswagen Jetta rear-ended a tour bus, Chino Valley Fire Department Battalion Chief Tim Stewart said. The impact of the crash lodged the Jetta underneath the bus.
With the Jetta underneath, the tour bus pulled to the right shoulder, Stewart said. A witness told officials someone tried to help the driver out, once the bus had pulled over.
The driver of the Jetta was later identified as 26-year-old Xujun Lu, a Chino Hills resident. He died at the scene, the San Bernardino County Coroner said.
“We did pray for the other person’s family and hope that their well-being is okay as well because obviously they lost a loved one,” head coach Edgar Mendez said. “And you know our prayers are still going out there. Out community, our parents, all have thoughts and prayers going to that family.”
Shortly after, the car burst into flames, which quickly extended into the tour bus.
The bus’ passengers, 19 members of the men’s basketball team at San Diego Christian College and the driver, were able to evacuate and escape safely, Stewart said. No students were reportedly injured.
“My whole thing was getting the kids out safely,” Mendez said. “I was not worried as much about what was going on around us as making sure our young student athletes were walking away.”
San Diego Christian College athletics put out a statement that read in part:
“Thank you for your thoughts and prayers. Early this morning, our bus shuttling our men’s basketball team back to San Diego from Bakersfield, was hit from behind by a car igniting a spark and ultimately a fire. Thanks to quick responses by our staff, bus driver, student-athletes and good Samaritans on the road, led the whole bus full of people to safety with little to no cuts or scrapes.
Unfortunately for the driver of the car that hit us in the back, he was later pronounced dead at the hospital.
We would like to praise God for the safety bestowed upon us at that time and also ask for prayer to the family and friends of the driver.”
The team was coming home from a basketball game against CSU Bakersfield. No other information was immediately available.