UVALDE COUNTY, Texas — A church bus carrying members back from an annual spring retreatcollided with a pickup Wednesday, killing at least 12 people and injuring three others, authorities said.
Sgt. Conrad Hein of the Texas Department of Public Safety said the injured were taken to hospitals after the head-on collision that happened around 12:30 p.m. CT Wednesday on U.S. 83 outside Garner State Park, about 75 miles west of San Antonio.
But Hein said he did not know if the lone occupant of the pickup truck was among the dead or how many of the dead were among the 14 people aboard the van belonging to the First Baptist Church of New Braunfels.
The Uvalde County Sheriff’s Office said the major crash caused Highway 83 north to be closed near Garner State Park.
The church acknowledged on its website that its vehicle was involved in the crash: “We understand there have been some fatalities, but we do not yet know who. All activities for tonight are canceled. The Sanctuary will be open [Wednesday] evening for prayer and support. Please be in prayer for all involved.”
KENS-TV’s crew at the scene reported the trip was an annual spring retreat for church members 55 and older.
The church wrote in a post on the website that the group was returning from a three-day encampment at the Alto Frio Baptist Camp and Conference Center in Leakey, Texas, about 130 miles west.
Counselors will be on hand at the church Thursday, according to the website. “If you’re a Christian, you can pray for those who lost their loved ones and for the church family,” the church wrote.
The sheriff’s office said traffic was being rerouted through state Highway 127 in Concan and FM 1050 near the state park and the highway was expected to be closed for several hours.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott released a statement in response to the crash, offering condolences:
“We are saddened by the loss of life, and our hearts go out to all those affected. We thank the first responders working on the scene in the wake of this unimaginable tragedy.”
By USA Today