RIVERSIDE — One day after the Wednesday morning collision between a school bus and a retro-style SUV, students were telling investigators the man trapped in the wreckage of his own car had intentionally aimed for the bus.
Students who got off the bus quickly noticed that Joseph Anthony, 44, the driver of a Chevrolet Heritage High Roof, was moaning in pain, suffering from the effects of the collision. Riverside County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Sgt. Joe Borja said Anthony was cut out of the wreckage and taken to a local hospital with “minor injuries.”
According to the California Highway Patrol, dispatchers notified the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department Monday morning about a man attempting to climb the curved fence on the Pedley Road freeway overpass in an apparent attempt to leap.
When he could not get over the fence, the man climbed into the Chevrolet HRR and drove the wrong way onto the freeway exit and crashed into the bus, which was carrying students home from classes, said the CHP report.
“We believe this was an intentional act. We are investigating it as a possible assault with a deadly weapon,” sheriff’s Deputy Melissa Nieburger said.
Fire trucks, ambulances and police cars, in addition to school district administrators, quickly converged on the Highway 60 accident scene — in addition to various news teams. Seven passengers, each of them students at Nueva Vista Continuation High School in Jurupa, were on the bus.
Henry Montoya, 36, the school bus driver for the Jurupa Valley Unified School District, was injured along with three students.
On Thursday, police said that students witnessed Montoya swerving to avoid Anthony’s car only to have the vehicle steer back toward the bus. Montoya tried to avoid the Chevy HHR again, and managed to limit major damage and injuries.
“Some of the kids were saying that he (Montoya) saved their lives,” said Borja.
Anthony was arrested on assault with a deadly weapon.