A charter bus veered off a central California freeway before dawn Tuesday and struck a pole head-on, killing five people and sending at least five others to hospitals, authorities say. The pole of a highway exit sign sliced the unmarked white bus nearly in half lengthwise, reports the AP. "The pole went through the center of the bus, and that's where the injuries were sustained," California Highway Patrol Officer Moi Onsurez says.
Emergency workers climbed in through the windows to pull passengers out; about 30 were aboard. The five injured were airlifted to hospitals, Onsurez says. The bus was heading from Southern California to Sacramento on State Route 99 when it crashed around 3:30am between the cities of Atwater and Livingston, approximately 65 miles northwest of Fresno, Onsurez says. It isn't clear what caused the crash. (Read more bus crash stories.)