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Reports of Truck Driving Erratically Before Deadly Texas Crash

  • Associated Press

Authorities respond to a deadly crash involving a van carrying church members and a pickup on U.S. 83 outside Garner State Park in northern Uvalde County, Texas, March 29, 2017. The group of senior adults from First Baptist Church of New Braunfels, Texas

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

One man called the dispatch line just past noon Wednesday to report that a white Dodge pickup was swerving on the road, Uvalde police Lt. Daniel Rodriguez said 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 call from a woman who reported a truck driving erratically on U.S. 83, county 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 before reaching Real County, Johnson 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 National Transportation Safety Board sent investigators Thursday to start looking into the crash, which occurred about 12:25 p.m. outside Garner State Park, about 75 miles (120 kilometers) west of San Antonio.

The wreck occurred along a curve in the road where the speed limit is 65 mph, DPS Sgt. Orlando Moreno said.

Twelve bus passengers and driver Murray William Barrett, 67, died at the scene, DPS Lt. Johnny Hernandez said. Another bus passenger died at a San Antonio hospital. The pickup driver, Jack Dillon Young, 20, of Leakey, Texas, was still in stable condition and the lone survivor from the bus remained in critical condition Thursday night, DPS said.

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