13 killed: Families gathered to cry, grieve Texas church bus crash victims
- Author: Leroy Wright Apr 01, 2017,
Apr 01, 2017, 9:55
First Baptist Church in Kingsport has two buses that they use, each with different regulations, but the church said they take every safety precaution for both.
Sgt. Conrad Hein of the Texas Department of Public Safety also said three others were injured and taken to hospitals after the head-on collision that happened around 12:30 p.m. Wednesday on USA 83 outside Garner State Park, about 75 miles (120.7 km) west of San Antonio. "We appreciate other churches praying for us and lifting us up during this time".
The San Antonio-area church said on its website that the members were returning from a three-day retreat at the Alto Frio Baptist Encampment in Leakey, about 9 miles (15 kilometers) from the crash site.
Law enforcement officials said they received phone calls about a person in a white pickup truck driving erratically shortly before the deadly collision.
"I had an interesting conversation with a lady who lost her mom and dad".
Funerals are already being planned for at least two of the victims as the church anticipates the full recovery of the lone bus occupant who survived the accident, 64-year-old Rose Mary Harris of New Braunfels.
Real County Constable Nathan Johnson says that the first call was made by a motorist who reported seeing the pickup truck driver operating the vehicle in an "erratic" way while traveling north on Highway 83. Pastor Windell Gill told Eyewitness News Rosamond was a member of First Baptist Church La Porte while she lived in the city.
Three-point seat belts are always preferable to lap belts because they hold the upper torso in place and help prevent head injuries, said automotive safety advocate Joan Claybrook.
Kuchler says he spoke with the driver as he was pinned in his truck Wednesday moments after the collision with the bus carrying senior adults with First Baptist Church of New Braunfels, Texas.
Jody Kuchler watched as the erratic pickup driver plowed head-on into a van carrying senior citizens returning from a church seminar in Texas Wednesday, killing 13 on board.
"(The caller) was scared (the pickup driver) was going to cause an accident and asked us to send deputies", Uvalde police Lt. Daniel Rodriguez said.
The bus driver and remaining 12 passengers died. The same woman also called back to report the accident.
Kuchler said he called the sheriff's offices for both Uvalde and Real counties while he followed the truck.
Morrison also said the bus was the body and chassis of a 2004 Fort Econoline van converted into a small bus by Turtle Top.
There were 14 people aboard the bus Wednesday when it collided head-on with a pickup truck west of San Antonio.
The National Transportation Safety Board has said that they are investigating the incident and are expected to provide an update on their investigation some time Thursday, but that update could be pushed back to Friday because of how late they arrived on the scene Wednesday night.
Wednesday's collision was one of the deadliest in Texas in recent memory. Counselors were made available Thursday at the church.
McLean said that hours after the crash, family members came to the church to cry and grieve together. "Our church family did what church families are supposed to do: Lots of prayer". The Associated Press contributed to this article.