A high school track team coach and a commercial truck driver were killed and about 20 others injured when a tractor-trailer veered into the path of a school bus on Highway 271 Thursday night in Titus County, Texas.
WFAA CBS 19 reported that a bus carrying the Mount Pleasant High School boys track team was driving south on 271 when the tractor trailer traveling in the northbound lane veered into the bus’s path around 10:45 p.m.
Track coach Van Bowen, who was driving the bus, swerved to avoid a head-on collision, but the tractor-trailer plowed into the side of the bus, causing it to roll over into a ditch.
Angelica Beard, a 30-year-old assistant coach for the Mount Pleasant High School girls track team, was driving a car behind the school bus and collided with the tractor trailer head-on. Ms. Beard was killed in the crash and the driver of the truck, 50-year-old Bradley Farmer of Bogard, Missouri, was also killed.
The crash occurred about a mile south of Talco, Texas, and 10 miles north of Mt. Pleasant.
Mr. Bowen was taken by air ambulance to East Texas Medical Center in Tyler, where he was in critical condition Friday morning.
Approximately 20 of the 30 members of the boy’s track team on the bus were injured in the crash, including one who sustained serious injuries and was also airlifted to the hospital. Various reports say the extent and seriousness of the injuries to the team members varied from moderate to serious. The injured students were taken to three different area hospitals.
A bus carrying the Mt. Pleasant girls track team had been traveling a few miles behind the bus carrying the boys team and was not involved in the crash.
The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) is investigating the crash. Authorities haven’t determined what made Mr. Farmer veer out his lane.
“My thoughts and fervent prayers go out to the family members and friends of the two precious lives that were claimed as a result of the horrific East Texas crash involving the Mt. Pleasant High School girls and boys track teams,” Congressman Louie Gohmert, a former Mt. Pleasant High School student, said in a statement. “How very horrific — to experience such a devastating loss after a time of togetherness and fun — traveling back to Mt. Pleasant after a track meet.”