Pickup driver was texting before Texas church bus crash that killed 13, witness says
The driver of a pickup truck that collided with a church minibus in rural Texas, killing 13 people, apologized after the crash and acknowledged he had been texting while driving, a witness said Friday.
Jody Kuchler told the Associated Press he was driving behind the truck and had seen it moving erratically prior to the Wednesday collision on a two-lane road about 75 miles west of San Antonio, near the town of Concan. Kuchler said the truck had crossed the center line several times while he followed it.
Kuchler said he called the sheriff’s offices for Uvalde and Real counties while he followed the truck and told them, “they needed to get him off the road before he hit somebody.”
“He said, ‘I’m sorry, I’m sorry. I was texting.’ I said, “Son, do you know what you just did? He said, ‘I’m sorry, I’m sorry,’” Kuchler quoted the pickup driver as saying.
Department of Public Safety Sgt. Conrad Hein declined to comment on Friday on the cause of the crash or if texting might have played a role. But officials have said the truck driver appeared to have crossed the center line.
Young remains hospitalized following the crash.
The National Transportation Safety Board sent investigators on Thursday to start looking into the crash. The agency was set to hold a news conference later Friday.
The First Baptist Church of New Braunfels, Texas, said its members were returning from a three-day retreat at the Alto Frio Baptist Encampment in Leakey, about nine miles from the crash site.
It is not yet clear if the bus passengers were wearing seatbelts or even if the minibus was fitted with suitable restraints.
The wreck occurred along a curve in the road where the speed limit is 65 mph, according to DPS officials.
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