SAN DIEGO -- Members of the San Diego Christian College basketball team on a charter bus when it was involved in a deadly, fiery crash in Chino Hills Sunday are deeply saddened for the family of the man killed.
"It's sad, it's surreal,” Anthony Gonzalez told KGTV Monday.
Cell phone video taken by one of the players who escaped the wreckage just moments before shows the bus and car engulfed in a ball of flames."You don’t think something like that could happen,” Gonzalez said.
The crash occurred on Interstate 71 in Chino Hills at about 1:30 a.m. Sunday. The team was heading home after a game at Cal State Bakersfield.
“We had pulled over because the bus driver was going to use the restroom,” Gonzalez said.
“He merged back on and then it happened, about 20-seconds after he merged back on to the freeway,” player Nathan Klekas said.
Xujun Lu, 26, was south on I-71 in a 2014 Volkswagen Jetta at about 50 miles per hour and "due to circumstances still under investigation,' California Highway Patrol reported, the front end of his Jetta struck the rear of the 2012 tour bus.
“I knew we got hit because of the noise and impact but I wasn’t sure the severity of it,” Gonzalez said.
“One of our kids in the back yells, ‘a car is stuck under the bus,’” coach Edgar Mendez said. The players rushed off the bus through the front door.
“Someone had pulled over and went and tried to help the driver out,” Gonzalez said.
Another driver pulled Lu from the crushed Volkswagen Jetta. “Then it went up in flames, shortly thereafter, so we just kind of helplessly watched the car and the bus burn up,” Klekas said. The 20 people aboard the charter bus were not hurt. Lu died at the scene.
The crash remains under investigation.