Engaged pair, identical twin, teen football player among the victims in California bus crash

The Associated Press

This undated image provided by the Center for Autism and Related Disorders, Inc. shows Michael Myvett. Myvett and his fiancee, Mattison Haywood, who were recently engaged in Paris, were killed on the bus carrying high school students to Humboldt State University when it was hit by a FedEx tractor trailer Thursday night. Myvett and Haywood were chaperones on the bus. (AP Photo/Center for Autism and Related Disorders, Inc)

Associated Press + More

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Five high school students and three chaperones have been confirmed dead or are unaccounted for after a charter bus heading to Humboldt State University was struck by a FedEx tractor-trailer in Northern California. The bus and big rig drivers were also killed.

___

Michael Myvett had spent years connecting to autistic children as a therapist, and now was playing chaperone to a different group of youth as he traveled from his Southern California home to Humboldt State, his alma mater.

He was also a proud groom-to-be, traveling with Mattison Haywood, the fiancee he proposed to in Paris at Christmas.

The couple would make it neither to the school nor their wedding, dying in a fiery highway crash instead.

"He was my grandson, the greatest grandson any grandparent could ever have," Myvett's grandmother Debra Loyd told The Associated Press through tears.

Myvett had worked at the Center for Autism and Related Disorders in Torrance for two years.

Operations manager Kyle Farris, one of Myvett's supervisors, said he and another therapist heard about the couple's death on Facebook on Friday morning and were very broken up by the news.

Farris described Myvett as "a child at heart" who loved comic books and video games, fantasized about working as a Disney cartoonist and bonded with his young clients by drawing cartoon characters for them.

"He wanted to help people succeed, and to be a liaison and representative for high school students who wanted to attend Humboldt was in sync with his personality, wanting to facilitate people's achievement of their dreams," Farris said.

Myvett proposed to Haywood outside the Louvre Museum in December. Facebook photos posted by the beaming couple show Haywood teetering on the platform pumps Myvett had asked her to wear while he extended a ring on bended knee.

"That was the love of his life," Farris said.

___

The driver of a FedEx tractor-trailer was a 32-year-old Sacramento native who married his high school sweetheart and had two young daughters.

Tim Evans of Elk Grove was among the 10 people killed when the FedEx truck veered into oncoming traffic on Interstate 5 in Orland, according to the Sacramento Bee.

Debbie Otto, the stepmother of Evans' wife, Candice, told the newspaper that her son-in-law was a "kind, caring and unbelievably happy man" who had been driving professionally for several years.

Otto says the family is devastated and wondering what could have caused the fiery collision.

Evans grew up in Sacramento and played several sports at John F. Kennedy High School, Otto said. He helped coach his daughters' soccer and softball teams.

"Tim loved everybody, and everybody loved Tim," Otto said. "We're doing a lot of waiting, a lot of crying and a lot of consoling."

___

Separated by five minutes at birth and a waiting list as they approached college, 17-year-old identical twins Marisol and Marisa Serrato of Norte Vista High School in Riverside, Calif., found opposite fates as they got on different buses headed for Humboldt.

Marisol, who'd been accepted to the school, arrived without incident Thursday.

There was no word on Marisa, her "baby" sister who was on the school's wait list, for nearly 24 hours before dental records confirmed she was among the dead.

Miguel Serrato said Marisol called their father Friday evening after going to see her sister's body.

"Marisol is devastated," the tearful brother said.

Aunt Dora Gil told The Press-Enterprise newspaper in Riverside that Marisol is burdened with questions about the loss of her sister, including if she could have saved her twin if they were on the same bus.