Testimony continues in sentencing of driver convicted in fatal church bus crash
UVALDE - Testimony continued Thursday in the sentencing of the driver convicted in a 2017 fatal church bus crash.
Jack Dillon Young faces up to 270 years in prison after he plead no contest to crashing his truck into a church bus along Highway 83 in Uvalde County in March 2017. The crash killed 13 people, all were parishioners of the First Baptist Church in New Braunfels. A woman sitting in the back corner of the bus was the only survivor of the crash.
Young was charged with 13 counts of intoxication manslaughter and one count of intoxication assault.
During his opening statement, 38th Judicial District Attorney Daniel Kindred called the collision a "mass killing and not an accident." Investigators determined Young was using marijuana and Clonazepam, a sedative used to treat anxiety, at the time of the accident.
A pre-trial release fore the 38th judicial testified Young has tested positive for THC three times since his release on August, 31, 2017. His last positive tests came in on May of this year, on June 28 and also July 5.
He was prescribed Clonazepam, but the National Transportation Safety Board said he routinely misused the medication, sometimes taking more than the prescribed amount. Marijuana and Clonazepam were potent depressants and likely enhanced the impairing effect of the other, investigators said.
Defense attorney Rogelio Munoz asked for mercy and blamed Young's doctors for prescribing him too much medication. Munoz also shared with the court details of Young's "tragic childhood" and his battle with depression.
The state presented a 14-minute cell phone video showing Young crossing the white and yellow lines dozens of times. Witnesses called 911 to report his erratic driving.
Family members of the crash victims say as many as 10 people are on the list to testify for the state.
Rose Mary Harris, the lone survivor from the crash, testified Thursday. Harris, a Detroit native, moved to New Braunfels before the crash with her three sons. She wanted to drive her own car to the retreat but testified another member of the church convinced her to take the bus.
She described riding on the bus the day of the crash, talking with other church members about the landscape as she sat in the back row.
“As I turned, I remember being jerked around," Harris testified. "I couldn’t believe what my eyes just saw.”
“When it settled, there was no noise.”