A cattle truck driver died and a school bus driver was hurt after their vehicles collided head-on south of Hilmar on Thursday morning, authorities said.
The driver of the truck, a 33-year-old Chowchilla man, died at the scene, according to the California Highway Patrol. He was identified Thursday afternoon by the Merced County Coroner’s Office as Matthew Melvin Selby.
The driver of the bus, Roxanne Boeken, 57, suffered leg injuries and was flown to a Modesto hospital, according to Colin B. Christian, transportation supervisor for the Hilmar Unified School District, and Moises Onsurez of the CHP.
No children were aboard the bus. The Hilmar Unified School District issued a robocall to the families of students on Boeken’s route, and other bus drivers picked them up for school.
The CHP initially believed seven calves had been killed, but later revised the number to four. A second hauler was called to the scene to remove the remaining cattle.
The accident at Highway 165 at Turner Avenue just north of the Merced River was first reported at 6:24 a.m. The crash occurred just north of where the highway curves as it goes over the river.
According to Onsurez, Boeken was driving the bus south on the highway when for an unknown reason, the truck driver, heading north, drove into the path of the bus. The CHP said Boeken “attempted an evasive maneuver” but was unable to avoid the head-on collision.
Selby was not wearing a seat belt, the CHP reported.