Thirteen members of a church choir were killed when their bus collided head-on with a pickup truck Wednesday afternoon in Texas. The crash happened about 75 miles west of San Antonio, outside Garner State Park in Uvalde County.
On Thursday morning, the Texas Department of Public Safety released the names of the victims, who ranged in age from 61 to 87. One passenger on the bus survived and is in critical condition. The department also released the name of the pickup truck’s driver, 20-year-old Jack Dillon Young of Leakey, Texas, who was in stable condition at a San Antonio hospital.
Investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board have begun looking into the cause of the crash, which shut down the highway for about 12 hours, according to Texas Public Radio.
The Associated Press reports:
“Authorities said the vehicles collided about 12:25 p.m. on U.S. 83 near the town of Concan. At a briefing near the crash site Wednesday night, DPS Sgt. Orlando Moreno said the wreck occurred along a curve in the road where the speed limit is 65 mph.
” ‘For reasons unknown the truck veered into the southbound lane and struck the bus head-on,’ Moreno said.
The 13 members of First Baptist Church in New Braunfels were returning from a retreat in Leakey. The Washington Post spoke with Marcia Dean, a church member and former employee of the church, who said the choir members on the bus “had a fabulous time” at the retreat. “They sang and laughed and praised the Lord.”
The San Antonio Express-News reported that congregation members gathered outside the church on Wednesday night; many had come for services and didn’t learn of the crash until they arrived.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and his wife, Cecilia, offered their condolences. “We are saddened by the loss of life and our hearts go out to all those affected,” Abbott said in a statement. “We thank the first responders working on the scene in the wake of this unimaginable tragedy, and ask that all Texans join us in offering their thoughts and prayers.”
On its Facebook page, the church posted a statement thanking people for the outpouring of love and support. “Please continue to pray,” it said.