Home / National News / Driver in deadly crash with church bus in Texas drifted from lane at least 60 times, investigators say


(WASHINGTON) — The pickup driver involved in the Texas church bus accident that killed 13 people in March reportedly drove out of his lane at least 60 times before the crash, according to a preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board.

After reviewing a 14-minute video taken by a witness just before the crash, NTSB reports that the pickup driver crossed the solid white edge line 37 times while traveling northbound to the east, and entered the roadside grass at least five times. Additionally, while departing the northbound travel lane to the west, the pickup driver is seen on camera crossing the double yellow centerline 19 times, and at one point driving completely on the wrong side of the road.

The witness who captured the video called the local sheriff to report the driver and law enforcement officials were in route at the time of the crash, according to the NTSB report.

At least 13 dead, 3 injured in Texas church bus crash, say police
The took place on March 29 when a 2007 Dodge Ram 3500 pickup smashed head-on a into a 13-passenger bus operated by the First Baptist Church in New Braunfels, Texas. The 67-year-old bus driver and 12 passengers were killed, while the 20-year-old pickup truck driver and one bus passenger sustained serious injuries.

The pickup driver said he was checking his phone for a text when the accident occurred, according to the NTSB. Officials say they have since subpoenaed the driver’s cell phone records with the intent to review them over the next few weeks as part of their investigation.

The driver also admitted to investigators that he had been taking prescription medications prior to the crash. Several of these medications, and marijuana, were found in the pickup truck after the crash, according to the NTSB’s findings.

The preliminary report indicates that all passengers on the church bus were wearing seat belts and that no mechanical defects were found in the initial inspection of either vehicle.

The crash remains under investigation by the NTSB and the Texas Department of Public Safety, which is conducting a separate investigation.

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