Texas Community Mourns 4 Softball Players Who Died In Bus Crash
GAINESVILLE, Texas – On Saturday, North Texas community college brought in counselors to comfort the grieving students and cancelled their athletic competition after an incident that took place on highway interstate when vehicles crashed into the side resulting in the death of some individuals. Four female softball players were killed when a truck veered into oncoming traffic.
CBS Dallas reported on Friday that the accident near Davis (Oklahoma) badly collapsed the side of the driver of the North Central Texas College team bus which was driven by a coach. 15 players were travelling in the bus who were returning from a scrimmage against Southern Nazarene University in Bethany, Oklahoma.
Besides those individuals who died in this incident, two members of the team remained in hospitals on Saturday. One of these individuals who got injured was in critical condition. Other players were treated in the same hospital and were later released along with the coach.
On Saturday, North Central Texas College President Brent Wallace said at an emotional news conference in Gainesville, Texas, about 60 miles south of the crash site on Interstate 35, “This is the most traumatic event that NCTC has had in its 90 years of history.”
Some among these individuals were identified by the Okhlahoma Highway Patrol as Brooke Decard who was 20 years of age, Meagan Richardson who was 19, Jaiden, 20, and Katelynn Woodlee 18. All these women were from North Texas Town near the campus.
Ronnie Hampton, Oklahoma Highway Patrol Capt, said that from all these individuals, three died at the spot and the fourth one died in the hospital nearby.
According to Oklahoma University Medical Center clinical coordinator Darina Shellman, 18-year-old Bailey Buchanan was in very bad condition on Saturday. According to Kelly Wells who was a spokeswoman from Norman Regional Hospital, 19-year-old Rachel Hitt was listed in fair condition.
The incident amazed the close-knit Texas community college of about 10,000 individuals. The father of Emily Kuser, Rich Raymond, said amongst all these girls, many of them had been playing together on regional softball travel teams since childhood.
Raymond said, “It’s just an amazing family of girls and athletes and coaches.” He also said, “Just such a tight community. And even if your girl isn’t going to the school there’s a lot of pain right now.”
The reason cannot be clearly explained why the northbound 18-wheel tractor-trailer lurched across the median into the southbound lanes but according to the police, the officers would investigate this incident as if it were a homicide.
According to the Highway Patrol, the individual who was driving the vehicle was identified as 53-year-old Russell Staley of Saginaw, Texas. He was treated at the nearest hospital and was then released. According to Capt. George Brown, spokesman for the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, there are no charges pending Saturday against Staley.
On Sunday afternoon, the NTSB sent out a tweet stating that its investigators found “no evidence of braking or evasive maneuvers” before the 18-wheeler crashed into the bus.
According to police Chief James Fitch, this accident was a “chaos” and he told that 11 ambulances and some helicopters responded to the scene.
The bus was not damaged from its front sides, but the other sides of the vehicle were badly damaged. At the time of the accident, the weather forecast was clear and the highway was dry at the time when the crash happened.
Hampton said the vehicle didn’t stop. It kept going until the vehicle went off the side of the road and crashed with the bus.
I-35 is a major trucking artery that is running between Oklahoma City and Dallas. Hampton said, “It took about an hour before we found the semi.” The lanes again reopened after this accident on the morning early Saturday.
According to The National Transportation Safety Board, it was said on Saturday that the team of investigators will be sent to the site and scheduled a news conference for later Saturday afternoon.
Hampton said this investigation would take some time, some weeks probably.
Hampton said, “Right now, it’s being investigated like a homicide, adding that both drivers will undergo standard toxicology tests. He also said that details of the crash were still not known but “something happened to cause (the semitrailer driver) to depart the roadway and impact the other vehicle.”
A posting on the North Central Texas College Facebook page reads: “We ask for your prayers at this time for our softball team.” On Saturday evening, the school scheduled a prayer vigil on campus.
News Source: www.CBSNews.com