Pickup driver was texting, on meds at time of 13-fatality crash
In the photo above, taken on March 31, 2017, Kristin Poland and David Pereira examining the pickup truck involved in the Concan, TX crash. (NTSB Photo Taken by: Jennifer Morrison)
The driver of a pickup truck was texting before crashing into a bus in Texas and killing all 13 people in it, according to the preliminary report released by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) about the March 29 accident near Concan, Texas.
The 67-year-old bus driver and 12 passengers aboard the bus, operated by the First Baptist Church of New Braunfels, died after their bus was struck by a pickup truck on U.S. Highway 83 in Uvalde County. The pickup truck’s driver – the only occupant – was seriously injured as was one bus passenger.
Crossed the centerline 19x
Witnesses who were alarmed by the erratic movements of the pickup truck took a 14-minute video prior to the crash which showed that the pickup truck crossed the double yellow centerline 19 times, crossed the solid white edge lines of the roadway 37 times, and entered the grass roadside at least five times. At one point in the video the pickup truck is seen traveling on the wrong side of the road.
In an interview with the NTSB the driver admitted that he was checking his phone for a text when the crash happened. The Board subpoenaed his cell phone records, and will review the records in coming weeks.
Prescription meds + marijuana
The pickup truck driver also told NTSB investigators he took prescription medications prior to the crash. Several of those medications were found in the pickup truck at the crash scene. Marijuana was also found in the pickup truck. Toxicology test results for the driver are pending.
Speed was evidently not a factor; based on the witness video, the NTSB estimated that the pickup truck was traveling between 67 and 71 miles per hour in a 70 mph zone.
- Preliminary evidence indicates that all the occupants of the bus were wearing available restraints. The rear passengers had lap-only seat belts available for their use.
- No mechanical defects were identified in the initial inspection of either vehicle.
There has not been a successful download of event-related data from any vehicle-based recording or transmitting devices.
The preliminary report does not contain analysis and does not state probable cause for the crash, rather, the preliminary report summarizes factual information collected thus far in the investigation. The information in the report is preliminary and will be supplemented or corrected as necessary during the NTSB’s investigation.
The preliminary report can be viewed and downloaded at https://go.usa.gov/x5fqp.