The head-on crash that killed 13 people on a church bus in Texas apparently unfolded after an oncoming pickup truck veered across the center line Wednesday, an investigator revealed.
Meanwhile, the senior pastor of First Baptist Church in New Braunfels spoke out Thursday about an outpouring of support after the crash that killed 12 of his church members Wednesday afternoon – and asked people to pray for the driver of the other vehicle.
“Our priority as a church is to care for our families who have lost a loved one in this accident. There will be services being planned and prepared,” Pastor Brad McLean said. “I would encourage people to pray for the family of the driver of the other vehicle. That family is hurting. I would encourage you to show love and grace to them.”
Pray for all those involved in the tragic church bus crash in Texas.— Franklin Graham (@Franklin_Graham) March 29, 2017
One bus passenger and the truck driver remain hospitalized. The bus was returning from a three-day retreat Wednesday before the crash about 75 miles west of San Antonio.
“For reasons unknown the truck veered into the southbound lane" before impact, Department of Public Safety spokesman Sgt. Orlando Moreno told reporters that evening. He said the crash unfolded along a curve in the road where the speed limit is 65 mph.
Another DPS spokesman, Lt. Johnny Hernandez, was more circumspect Thursday, saying the crash remained under investigation.
The 13 people on a church bus who were killed ranged in age from 61 to 87, investigators added. The bus driver was identified as 67-year-old Murray William Barrett of New Braunfels.
McLean said he was grateful for the love and kindness being shown to his congregation from other churches and local businesses since the accident.
The truck driver, 20-year-old Jack Dillon Young of Leakey, Texas, and bus passenger, 64-year-old Rose Mary Harris of New Braunfels, have been hospitalized.
Pastor McLean said that every person who perished will be “deeply missed,” adding, “I remember the smiles, I remember the hugs... You live life with folks, so you share so many small interactions that add up to a relationship that impacts you.”
Photos and video of the crash's aftermath showed heavy damage to the front drivers' sides of both vehicles where it appeared the two had collided. The back of the bus was up on a guardrail, with glass and debris scattered onto the grass below.
The National Transportation Safety Board was investigating the collision.
NOTE: An earlier version of this story misstated the condition of the truck driver. The Associated Press contributed to this report.