Catastrophic Church Bus Crash in Central Texas Fuels Effort for Texting Ban
Texting and driving puts motorists in danger in Houston and around Texas. A witness to the catastrophic church bus crash near Uvalde, Texas underscores that danger.
Image from Statesman.com
Texting and driving puts motorists in danger in Houston and around Texas. Now a witness to the catastrophic church bus crash near Uvalde, Texas underscores that danger. Jody Kuchler was driving on State Highway 83 near Concan, Texas. He called the local sheriff’s 911 line to report a white pickup truck driving erratically ahead of him, alternately crossing the centerline and veering to the shoulder at an estimated 80 mph. Kuchler’s passenger also video recorded the truck ahead of him for several miles.
Watching Tragedy Unfold
According to the Houston Chronicle…
“I’m following this guy in a white Dodge dually. He’s all over the road, both sides,” he told the 911 dispatcher. “Somebody needs to get this guy off the road”. Moments later, Kuchler came upon the nightmarish sight of the Dodge truck smashed head-on into a church van filled with elderly members of First Baptist Church of New Braunfels, returning from a retreat. Thirteen of the fourteen people in the bus died. The pickup driver, Jack D. Young, 20, survived, but was hospitalized.
Kuchler reported that when he talked to Young, pinned in the wreckage of his pickup, he said, “Son, do you know what you just did?” According to Kuchler, Young repeatedly said, “I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I was texting.”
Lawmakers Confronted with Terrible Reality
The grim irony is that this horrifying crash comes just two weeks after the Texas House passed a bill to impose a statewide ban on cell phone use while driving. It now remains for the Senate to pass an identical measure and then to secure the signature of Governor Greg Abbott. In a strong bipartisan effort, House Republican Tom Craddick and Senate Democrat Judith Zaffirini partnered to push through the legislation which has failed to pass in four previous sessions.
The Dallas Morning News says that House Speaker Joe Strauss tweeted congratulations to Craddick for passage in the House. Although almost 100 Texas cities have local ordinance against cell phone use while driving, Texas remains one of only four states without a statewide ban.
A portion of Kuchler’s video and news interview shows the disturbing prelude, as Young swerves all over the road in the Texas Hill Country.
If this terrifying scene does not convince Texas lawmakers to pass a statewide ban on cell phone use while driving, nothing will. We fervently hope to see it move unimpeded through the Senate and for Governor Abbott to sign it promptly.
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