–UPDATED MARCH 30 @ 4:00 P.M.–
SAN ANTONIO—A bus carrying senior adults from First Baptist Church in New Braunfels was involved in a head-on collision with a pickup truck Wednesday afternoon, March 29. The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) confirmed that 13 of the 14 people on the bus died, and two others, including the truck driver, were injured in the crash near San Antonio.
The church members were returning from a three-day retreat at Alto Frio Baptist Encampment in Leakey. The accident occurred on Highway 83 near Garner State Park in Concan.
Three people initially survived the crash, but one died after being transferred to the hospital. Authorities said the driver of the truck was at fault, but no further details were given.
The church cancelled Wednesday night activities but opened the church sanctuary for prayer.
“We are ministering to family members to help them deal with this tragedy. Counselors will be on hand at the church tomorrow. If you’re a Christian, you can pray for those who lost their loved ones and for the church family,” said a statement on the church’s Facebook page.
A follow-up post on Facebook at 10:40 p.m. Wednesday night said, “It is with heavy hearts that we confirm that thirteen of the fourteen passengers in today’s bus accident were called home to Jesus. The survivor is in serious but stable condition. Families have been notified. Out of respect for the families, we will wait until tomorrow to publish an official statement and list of names. Thank you for the outpouring of love and support. Please continue to pray.”
“Our hearts are broken as we pray for the families who lost loved ones,” said Jim Richards, executive director of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention. “Because of Jesus, the precious saints who left this earth shed the confines of the flesh to enter the glorious presence of our Lord. We stand with the pastor and church in constant prayer.”
Texas Governor Greg Abbott released a statement, saying, “Cecilia and I extend our deepest condolences to the victims and the families of those involved in today’s tragic event. We are saddened by the loss of life and our hearts go out to all those affected. 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.”
DPS officials identified those killed in the accident as Howard Bryan Allen, 81; Rhonda Barlow Allen, 61; Harold Boyd Barber, 87; Margaret Robinson Barber, 82; Murray William Barrett, 67; Mildred Goodlett Rosamond, 87; Sue Wynn Tysdal, 76; Dorothy Fern Vulliet, 84; and Martha Holcomb Walker, 84, all residents of New Braunfels. Others killed in the crash were Avis Scholl Banks, 83, of Austin; Cristie Clare Moore, 68, of Cibolo; and Donna Elizabeth Hawkins, 69, of Schertz. Addie Maurine Schmeltekopf, 84, of New Braunfels, died at University Hospital.
The only survivor from the church bus—Rose Mary Harris, 64, of New Braunfels—was in critical condition at San Antonio Military Medical Center in San Antonio. DPS identified the driver of the pickup truck as Jack Dillon Young, 20, of Leakey, who they said is in stable condition at University Hospital.