Thirteen people have died after a church bus carrying seniors crashed head-on into a pickup truck in Texas.
The gruesome crash occurred near Concan, Texas in the area of Garner State Park, and it killed everyone in the church vehicle except one passenger. Photos and videos captured the scene of the horrific collision.
The pickup driver, who is in serious condition in the hospital, was identified as Jack Dillon Young, 20. A police spokesman told the New York Daily News that he “may have crossed the center line of the highway before the crash.”
According to the Uvalde Leader-News,”An area resident was behind one of the vehicles involved and said she called law enforcement in Uvalde and Real counties to report reckless driving. Before help arrived, however, the crash happened.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. The Bus Was Carrying Seniors From a Baptist Church in New Braunfels
According to News4SanAntonio, the “bus carrying seniors from the First Baptist church in New Braunfels collided with a heavy-duty pick-up truck.”
The pickup driver was the lone occupant of that vehicle, Fox News reported. Everyone on the bus died except a single passenger; according to The New York Daily News, the victims were named as Harold Barber, 87; Howard Allen, 81; Rhonda Allen, 61; Margaret Barber, 82; Cristie Moore, 68; Donna Hawkins, 69; Avis Banks, 83; Mildred Rosamond, 87; Addie Schmeltekopf, 84; Sue Tysdal, 76; Martha Walker, 84; Dorothy Vulliet, 84; and the minibus driver, Murray William Barrett, 67.
Rose Harris was initially reported as having died, but TWC reports that she is still recovering in the hospital.
Authorities have not yet released much information about the pickup truck’s driver. However, CNN reported that the driver did not die. According to CNN, the cause of the crash remains under investigation.
Details were still unfolding on March 29. According to the Associated Press, the seniors were about 120 miles from the church, where they were headed.
2. The Seniors Were Returning From a Retreat
The church, First Baptist New Braunfels, posted several messages on Facebook, which said the bus was returning from a retreat. MySanAntonio.com reported that the event was a choir retreat.
“We have received word that the bus carrying our senior adults back from their retreat was involved in an accident,” the pastor wrote. “We understand there have been some fatalities. All activities for tonight are cancelled, including dinner. The Sanctuary will be open this evening for prayer and support. Please be in prayer for all involved.”
The church also released an official statement through social media that read, “At approximately 2 pm this afternoon, a group of our senior adults were returning home from a 3-day retreat at Alto Frio Baptist Encampment when their vehicle was involved in a head-on collision. We have heard that there have been fatalities, but we have not received any official details from the local authorities. We are ministering to family members to help them deal with this tragedy. Counselors will be on hand at the church tomorrow. If you’re a Christian, you can pray for those who lost their loved ones and for the church family.”
3. Everyone But One Passenger Inside the Bus Died
According to Fox News, 14 people were on the church bus. All but one died.
The pickup driver was the lone occupant of that vehicle, Fox News reported. One woman initially survived the crash, but has since passed away at the hospital, the Daily News reported.
At first, authorities said 12 people had died, but then they increased the number of fatalities to 13.
According to The Associated Press, at first, “the lone surviving passenger was hospitalized in critical condition, while the truck driver was hospitalized in stable condition.”
4. An Eyewitness Described the Crash Scene as ‘Gruesome’
Rick Ballesteros, of Uvalde, Texas, “came upon the scene of the accident,” according to Fox News.
“It was a really gruesome scene,” he told reporters.
5. Politicians Released Statements Grieving for the Victims
“We are saddened by the loss of life and our hearts go out to all those affected,” said Texas Gov. Greg Abbott in a statement.
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz tweeted, “My prayers are with the families impacted by this tragic accident – especially for those who have lost loved ones.”