NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas (AP) — A witness to a deadly Texas wreck involving a church minibus says the driver of a pickup truck that crossed the center line repeatedly apologized and acknowledged he had been texting while driving.
Jody Kuchler tells The Associated Press Friday he was driving behind the truck and had seen it being driven erratically prior to the collision on a rural two-lane road about 75 miles west of San Antonio.
Kuchler says he spoke with the driver as he was pinned in his truck Wednesday moments after the collision with the bus carrying senior adults with First Baptist Church of New Braunfels, Texas.
Kuchler says he told the driver, “Son, do you know what you just did?” He says the driver responded by repeatedly apologizing.
The Texas Department of Public Safety has identified the driver as 20-year-old Jack Dillon Young. He currently remains hospitalized.
Thirteen people on the bus were killed and the lone survivor also remains hospitalized Friday.
A researcher with the Texas A&M Transportation Institute says a likely reason the wreck resulted in the deaths of nearly everyone aboard is they all were senior citizens.
Associate research scientist Laura Higgins says Friday the frailty of older people is a primary reason they’re among the age groups more likely to die in traffic accidents.
Higgins says a seat belt being worn by a senior adult in a high-impact collision can itself cause internal damage to vulnerable organs.
The people aboard the bus during the crash ranged in age from 61 to 87.