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Truck driver at fault in accident killing 13 seniors returning from church retreat

The Department of Public Safety and Bexar County Medical examiner confirmed 13 people died and 2 were injured in a head-on collision near Garner State Park on Wednesday afternoon.

The accident happened around 12 p.m. off Highway 83 North when a bus carrying seniors from the First Baptist church in New Braunfels collided with a heavy-duty pick-up truck.

The bus was carrying 14 members of the church while the truck was occupied by one person. Authorities said the driver of the truck is at fault in the accident that killed 13 members of the church.

Three people survived the initial impact and were Airlifted to University Hospital -- one of the three survivors ultimately succumbed to their injuries at 2:25 p.m., bringing the death toll to 13.


Emily Baucum was live near the scene of the accident:

First Baptist in New Braunfels released two statements after the accident stating a bus carrying senior adults back from a retreat was involved in a head-on collision.

The Alto Frio Baptist Camp and Conference Center confirmed via phone Wednesday that a senior group had been at the camp since Monday.

The church announced all activities had been canceled in response to the accident.

Senior Pastor Brad McLean's congregation gathered at the New Braunfels church for prayer and support Wednesday night. There, McLean addressed media.

"As a church, we're waiting for some official news from authorities before we can speak to anything,"McLean said.

McLean said his church needs prayer more than anything else during this time and said members of the church gathered to do "what church families do."

"They're coming together, they're crying together, praying together and of course there's anxiousness as to who was on the bus and what their condition is," McLean said. "There's just a lot of unknowns."

Among the unknowns, McLean said, is the day.

"You never know what the day is going to bring," McLean said. "The Lord tells us that we have today, tomorrow is not promised."

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Rick Ballesteros of Uvalde came upon the scene of the accident and said the bus and a pick-up truck were involved in the head-on crash. He said there were possibly seven fatalities.

"It was a really gruesome scene," said Ballesteros during a phone interview.

Uvalde County Fire Marshals said DPS and EMS units, as well as Airlife, were on the scene.

A representative from Airlife said two people were transported to University Hospital.

A lieutenant with the TxDPS said there were several fatalities but could not confirm how many.

The Uvalde County Sheriff's Office said Highway 83 North is closed south of Garner State Park and traffic will be rerouted through CR 350 and FM 1050. The highway will be closed for several hours.

Garner State Park is almost 88 miles west of San Antonio.

Check back for more information on this developing story.


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