New governor's words don't upset many in Alabama (1/21/2011)
By: THOMAS WATKINS
The victim was one of 22 people on the bus late Monday morning when it collided with a Nissan Murano traveling in the opposite direction and slid 50 feet down a mountainside after hitting a power pole about 70 miles east of Los Angeles, California Highway Patrol Officer Mario Lopez said.
Investigators were measuring skid marks to determine how fast the vehicles were traveling and if either one had crossed over the road's center dividing line.
Lopez said alcohol did not appear to be a factor in the crash.
Daniel Lee, a deacon at the Pasadena-based Light of Love Mission Church, said the bus was returning from a weekend Bible study retreat at the Pinecrest Christian Conference Center near the accident site.
He said most participants were middle-school or high-school aged.
Lopez would not say whether the person who died was a church participant or the bus driver. The other bus occupants and the two people in the other vehicle were hospitalized.
Ten were seriously injured and 13 had minor to moderate injuries, Lopez said.
,Throughout the afternoon, a trickle of church members arrived at the cream-brick church in Pasadena, anxious to learn more about the crash.
Church member William Sa said he had been nervous for kids on the trip, given the stormy weather that dumped rain and snow over much of Southern California in recent days.
"I just had a bad feeling that the weather was so severe," Sa said.
The CHP said the road where the bus slid was wet but not icy.
John Cho, another deacon at the church, said the driver of the bus was a professional driver who had volunteered to make the trip.
Lee said he normally would have been the bus driver but something came up at the last minute.
"I was supposed to be driving but I had a job to do," a distraught Lee told media as he choked back tears. "So I asked other church member to drive."
A California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokesman said earlier that the other car was a San Bernardino County Fire Department vehicle, but Lopez said the vehicle was privately owned.
He had no details about the identities of that vehicle's occupants.
The Light of Love church is a Presbyterian house of worship that moved to its current location about a decade ago, several congregants said.