Sat, Apr 01, 2017 - Page 7 News List

Swerving pickup reported before bus crash that killed 13

AP, NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas

Authorities in two Texas counties said they received telephone calls about a pickup driving erratically shortly before a collision between a truck and church bus in southwest Texas that killed 13 people.

One man called the dispatch line just past noon on Wednesday to report that a white Dodge pickup was swerving on the road, Uvalde Police Lieutenant Daniel Rodriguez said on Thursday.

“[The caller] was scared [the pickup driver] was going to cause an accident and asked us to send deputies,” Rodriguez said. “Deputies were dispatched, but before they could reach the area the same caller called 911 to report that the truck had been in an accident.”

Dispatchers in Real County received a telephone call from a woman who reported a truck was driving erratically on US 83, Constable Nathan Johnson said.

Real County officials called Uvalde County officials to coordinate a response to send deputies. Then the woman called back and said the truck that had been driving erratically had struck another vehicle, Johnson said.

“Unfortunately, he struck a motor vehicle before anyone could respond,” he said.

The Texas Department of Public Safety refused to speculate about what caused the head-on collision between a pickup and a small church bus near the town of Concan, although one spokesman said the truck driver appeared to have crossed the center line.

The US National Transportation Safety Board sent investigators to start looking into the crash, which occurred at about 12:25pm outside Garner State Park.

Twelve bus passengers and driver Murray Barrett, 67, died at the scene, Lieutenant Johnny Hernandez said. Another bus passenger died later at a hospital.

The pickup driver, Jack Young, 20, was in stable condition and the lone survivor from the bus remained in critical condition.

“These are individuals we’ve sat next to, and had dinner with, and laughed with and cried with, and worshiped with,” First Baptist Church of New Braunfels pastor Brad McLean said. “They were part of our church family. I think it’s the everyday interaction and relationship that has been built that, boy, those are the things that really will affect us a week from now, a month from now, a year from now.”

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