A mini-bus filled with choir members from the First Baptist Church of New Braunfels, Texas was fatally struck when a distracted pickup truck-driver collided with them. The choir was returning from a three-day retreat. Jack Dillon Young, the driver of the pickup truck, admitted to texting while driving on the scene of the accident. The crash claimed the lives of 13 people.
The Associated Press reported that Young had been driving erratically, which caused the driver behind him, Jody Kuchler, to call the sheriff. Kuchler told the Associated Press that he urged the sheriff’s office to get the driver off the road before he hit someone.
Kuchler witnessed the crash that claimed the lives of victims who ranged in age between 61 and 87. After the accident, Kuchler went to check on the bus and the pickup truck. 20-year-old Jack Dillon reportedly told Kuchler, “’I’m sorry, I’m sorry. I was texting.”
The bus was traveling southbound on a two-lane highway when the northbound pickup truck veered into the southbound lane, striking the bus. The crash occurred on a curve in an area where the speed limit is 65.
An investigator from the National Transportation Safety Board stated that the
investigation could last up to a year. The board has not yet released an official report detailing the cause of the accident.
One bus-passenger survived the crash, as did the pickup-driver. Both were in critical condition following the accident. The pickup driver was not wearing a seatbelt while most of the passengers in the bus were wearing seatbelts.
According to the Texas Department of Transportation, there is not a statewide law banning the use of cellphones while driving. The Centers for Disease Control report that more than eight people are killed each day in the United States due to distracted driving and nearly 1,200 are injured.
Distracted driving can come in the form of texting, using navigation systems, eating, among others. While driving at 55 miles per hour, the average text will take a driver’s eyes off the road long enough to travel the length of a football field.
Though it may seem like you’re taking your eyes off the road for just a few seconds, that time can change your life forever.