Multiple people killed in Texas church bus crash
- Author: Joanne Flowers Mar 31, 2017,
Mar 31, 2017, 15:03
The Texas Department of Public Safety has identified the 13 people who died as a result of a head-on collision Wednesday afternoon near Garner State Park.
KSAT said a van and a truck collided head-on.
Real County Constable Nathan Johnson also says a woman called to report a truck matching the description was swerving in the same area shortly before the collision about 75 miles (120 km) west of San Antonio.
One person from the bus and the pickup driver remain hospitalized.
DPS continues to investigate the cause of the crash and the National Transportation Safety Board was expected at the scene Thursday morning.
"It was a really gruesome scene", motorist Rick Ballesteros of Uvalde, who drove up to the crash site, told CNN affiliate KABB.
We turn onto other news here this evening, and the federal investigation under way into that horrific bus crash in Texas, playing out while well were on the air last night here.
Another passenger, Addie Maurine Schmeltekopf, 84, of New Braunfels, died a few hours later at University Hospital in San Antonio.
According to DPS, a 20-year-old man driving a pickup truck crossed the center line and hit the bus travelling back to New Braunfels.
The deceased included one married couple, Harold Boyd Barber, 87, and Margaret Robinson Barber, 82, of New Braunfels.
"They were part of our church family, so they will be deeply missed", he said.
"We understand there have been some fatalities, but we do not yet know who". Deputies were dispatched, but Rodriguez says the same caller called back about 12:30 p.m.to say the truck had been in a collision.
And the bus was backed up onto a guardrail, with glass and debris scattered around.
The bus, which was carrying 14 people, was returning to New Braunfels from a Baptist encampment neat Lakey, Texas, where members were attending a Bible study, according to the church. Turtle Top's website features shuttle buses with capacities from 17 to 51 passengers, and promote them as "a great alternative to the standard 15-passenger van". Safety concerns have long surrounded the 15-passenger vans, which are frequently used by churches and other groups, with advocates saying they can be hard to control in an emergency. "Counselors will be on hand at the church tomorrow", the church wrote. They were on their way to the church from a three-day retreat in Leakey, about 9 miles north of where the crash happened.
Gov. Greg Abbott and First Lady Cecilia Abbott released a statement expressing condolences: "We are saddened by the loss of life, and our hearts go out to all those affected". He asked all Texans to join him in offering the victims and their family's their thoughts and prayers.
McLean said the people who died were individuals whose faces he saw on a weekly basis.