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During the morning commute on Sept. 15, 2015, a Houston, TX school bus carrying four students crashed over an overpass and flipped while sliding down a concrete embankment killing 2 students. A 17-year-old female was confirmed dead at the scene while another female aged 14 was pronounced dead at a local hospital. The two remaining students and the driver were being treated for non-threatening injuries, according to ABC 13 EyeWitness News.
Preliminary reports indicate the driver of a late-model Buick veered into and hit the driver side of the bus to avoid a collision, the driver of the bus, Louisa Pacheco over corrected and steered into, through and over the guard rail, heading nose first to the ground below. Houston school officials reported that the bus was on its way to Furr High School and Pacheco was nearing the end of her route. The bus driver has been employed by the school district for 3 years and has an impeccable driving record, and maintenance records show the bus underwent an inspection as recently as June 2015. According, to CBS NEWS, one of the witnesses that saw the tragedy take place said it was sad and “I wanted to faint, it took all the breath out of me.” Witnesses told KHOU.com “..our prayers go to…everybody in the accident.”
The second fatality of the Houston school bus crash was 14-year-old Janecia Chatman who was killed from the injuries she sustained in the crash attended Furr Highschool. Her 11-year-old sister says, “She was very funny…fun to hang around. I love her and I will never forget her.” At last check the driver of the bus, Pacheco was in stable, condition and of this report, the name of the first victim had not been released.
The investigation into the Houston school bus crash that killed 2 Students today has so far revealed that Pacheco did everything she could and was trained to do, to protect the students. Houston operates the largest school district in the state of Texas, and it has been at least 15 years since the last student was killed in an accident. Wretha Thomas, a former driver and current president of the union, stated after viewing the video from the onboard cameras that “The driver did everything she could. She did everything she had been trained for to protect the kids’ lives.” The general manager of transportation, Nathan Graf says that the 10 hours of back to school training includes a scenario similar to the events of the fatal crash. In which the drivers are trained in first responder protocol and how to secure the area. By day’s end, a memorial had been set at the site of the fatal crash, even people who did not know the victims left balloons, cards, and flowers.
The brother of the 17-year-old that died at the scene of the crash would have been on the bus along with the other students however, he had to appear in court on that day. The driver of the vehicle that may have caused the chain reaction as of this report has not come forward, leaving officials with some unanswered questions. However, the Houston school bus crash that has killed two students should serve as a reminder to always maintain a safe following distance while driving, regardless of the road conditions and perhaps avoid being involved in a tragic accident such as the one that took place on Sept. 15, 2015.
By Jireh Gibson
ABC 13 EyeWitness News:-HISD Reviews Procedures After Deadly Bus Crash
KHOU.com:-2 Students Dead, 3 Injured after HISD Bus Crash
Top and Featured Image Courtesy of Public Transportation’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License