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Posted: March 31, 2017

Driver who hit church bus, killed 13 was texting, witness says

Person driving and using cellphone
Image Source/Getty Images/Image Source
Person driving and using cellphone

By Philip Jankowski, American-Statesman

The driver of a pickup truck that slammed into a church bus killed 13 people Wednesday in Uvalde County, Texas, was texting, a witness told the San Antonio Express-News.

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Jack Dillon Young, 20, was seen texting while he drove a pickup, according to a witness who told the Express-News that he had called authorities multiple times after seeing the pickup drift onto the shoulder and across the center line, the report said.

Young was pinned in the pickup immediately after the collision and told Leakey, Texas, resident Jody Kuchler that he had been texting when he hit the bus.

“He said, ‘I’m sorry, I’m sorry. I was texting on my phone,’” Kuchler told the Express-News.

The Associated Press reported Thursday that law enforcement officers near the crash on U.S. 83 that killed 13 members of the First Baptist Church of New Braunfels, Texas, received phone calls about a person in a white pickup driving erratically shortly before the deadly collision. 

Uvalde police Lt. Daniel Rodriguez said a man called at 12:02 p.m. Wednesday to report the swerving truck heading north on U.S. 83 and asked deputies to respond, the AP reported. Deputies were dispatched, but Rodriguez said the same caller called back about 12:30 p.m. to say the truck had been in a collision.

Read more: ‘Hard to comprehend,’ Uvalde crash rattles New Braunfels church

Real County Constable Nathan Johnson also said a woman called county dispatchers to report that a truck matching the description was being driven erratically in the same area shortly before the accident. The same woman called back to report the wreck.

The pickup’s driver, whom authorities later identified as Leakey native Jack Young, was airlifted to University Hospital in San Antonio on Wednesday and was in stable condition.

The collision killed 13 people, mostly from New Braunfels:

  • Murray William Barrett, 67
  • Howard Bryan Allen, 81
  • Rhonda Barlow Allen, 61
  • Harold Boyd Barber, 87
  • Margaret Robinson Barber, 82
  • Cristie Clare Moore, 68, of Cibolo
  • Donna Elizabeth Hawkins, 69, of Schertz
  • Avis Scholl Banks, 83, of Austin
  • Mildred Goodlett Rosamond, 87
  • Addie Maurine Schmeltkopf, 84 
  • Sue Wynn Tysdal, 76
  • Martha Holcomb Walker, 84
  • Dorothy Fern Vulliet, 84

Authorities said the sole surviving passenger on the bus, Rose Mary Harris, 64, of New Braunfels, was taken to San Antonio Military Medical Center, where she was in critical condition.

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