Driver That Killed 13 People In Texas Crash Admits He Was Texting and Drivingby Jana Ritter - Published: 3/31/2017
More details have been released about the tragic Texas crash that killed 13 people traveling in a minibus, on their way back from a church retreat. A witness who made several 911 calls trying to prevent the crash has come forward with his account of events. Authorities have also released the identity of the pickup truck driver who caused the crash as 20-year-old Jack Dillon Young of Leakey, Texas. Young survived the crash and has since acknowledged that he was texting while driving.
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The crash occurred on Wednesday on a two-lane road about 75 miles of San Antonio, near the town of Concan. On Friday, authorities confirmed that prior to the accident, two witnesses had tried to prevent it from happening by calling 911 and alerting dispatchers about a white pickup driving erratically. Jody Kuchler was one of those callers and he has since told reporters that he was driving behind the truck and became concerned when he saw it dangerously weaving back and forth over the center line several times. Kuchler was traveling with his girlfriend and they continued to follow the truck while she captured the erratic driving on her cell phone. He made multiple calls to both sheriff’s offices for Uvalde and Real counties and told them “they needed to get him off the road before he hit somebody.”
“The caller was scared the pickup driver was going to cause an accident and asked us to send deputies,” Uvalde police Lt. Daniel Rodriguez confirmed. Meanwhile, dispatchers in Real County received another call from a woman who also warned them about a white Dodge pickup driving erratically on U.S. 83. Real County officials called Uvalde County officials to coordinate a response to send deputies, but it was too late. Within minutes both Kuchler and the woman called back informing them the truck had struck another vehicle. And it was bad.
The wreck occurred along a curved section of the road where the speed limit is 65 mph. Kuchler and his girlfriend captured video of the driver going up to 80 mph and continuing to cross back and forth over the center line. They also witnessed the horrific moment the truck crashed head on into the oncoming New Braunfels church bus. Kuchler immediately called the Real County Sheriff's Office and told them, "I got this guy on video hitting this bus head on. Y'all get Life Flight. I hope they already called Life Flight. This bus if full of elderly people."
Kuchler said he then ran over to the mangled wreckage to see if anyone was alive. The only person he found responsive was the young pickup driver pinned inside his truck. Kuchler says he shouted at him, "Son, do you know what you just did?" The driver responded with a flood of tears and apologies. "I’m sorry, I’m sorry. I was texting."
Young was airlifted to University Hospital in San Antonio in stable condition. 64-year-old Rose Mary Harris was the only passenger on the bus to survive the crash and she remains in the hospital in critical condition. NTSB said it's conducting a full investigation with local authorities to determine all the factors involved in the crash and whether Young will face any charges.