HUDSPETH COUNTY, TX - Two people were killed and nearly three dozen were injured in a two vehicle accident in far West Texas early Sunday morning.
The accident occurred on US Highway 62/180 in Hudspeth County, approximately 4 miles west of Dell City, around midnight, Mountain Daylight Time.
According to the DPS, a Chevrolet pickup truck crossed into the westbound lanes and collided head-on with an El Paso ISD chartered school bus.
Authorities said the pickup truck burst into flames following the collision. The passengers on the bus were evacuated through a window.
The driver of the pickup truck and a passenger on the bus were pronounced dead at the accident scene.
The DPS identified the driver of the pickup truck as Gary Lawson, 51, of Hobbs, New Mexico.
The second victim was identified as Arcadio Duran Jr., 48, of El Paso. Duran was a track coach and social sciences teacher at Irvin High School, according to El Paso ISD.
All the other accident victims were treated for minor injuries by emergency personnel, transported to area hospitals or released at the scene, the DPS said.
A spokesman for the school district told our sister station in El Paso, KTSM-TV, the bus was transporting 25 students and faculty back from the Class 5A Region 1 UIL track meet meet Saturday in Lubbock.
The students on the bus were from El Paso, Austin, Irvin, Andress, Chapin, Jefferson and Bowie High Schools.
El Paso ISD said principals at each school notified parents of the students who were on board the bus. Counselors have also been notified and will be available to those impacted who may need grief counseling.
Officials say the charter bus was equipped with seat belts, but say it is unknown whether or not they were used.
Track team members and faculty from Canutillo ISD and Socorro ISD were also caravaning with their group from Lubbock when the accident occurred. They stopped and aided students and coaches involved in the accident, according to the school district.
El Paso ISD Superintendent Juan E. Cabrera released the following statement on the school district website on Sunday:
"At about 1 a.m. last night, I received a call from our Chief of Police notifying me that a charter bus carrying about 25 of our students plus coaches had been involved in an accident in Hudspeth County.
The teams were returning from a UIL regional track meet.
The bus carried students and coaches from Jefferson, Austin, El Paso, Burges, Andress and Irvin high schools. Coaches from Chapin High School also were on the bus.
Tragically, two adults were killed in the crash, including one of our own.
Irvin High School social sciences teacher and track coach Arcadio Duran, passed away due to injuries he received.
Mr. Duran was a dedicated member of the Irvin faculty and a devoted coach. We will grieve along with his family and work with his students and players to help them get through this difficult time.
Our students and staff who sustained injuries were taken to Del Sol Medical Center and University Medical Center. Their injuries were non critical and non- life-threatening.
I visited the hospitals this morning and our students and staff are doing well.
I want to thank the staff at Del Sol and UMC for their kindness and support in taking care of our students, staff and their families.
I’d also like to thank our fellow District families. Buses from Canutillo and Socorro were also traveling in the caravan from Lubbock with their own students. The buses stopped and remained with our students during the ordeal. They gave our students shelter and comfort. They remained with us until all of our students and staff were cared for.
It is times such as these that remind us that we are all one family, one community – all focused on taking care of kids.
My sincerest gratitude to our coaches and trainers who also rendered aid, with no regard for their own injuries or safety. I’ve already heard many heroic stories of the help our staff gave at the scene.
Our thoughts and focus will remain centered around those students and coaches who were
hospitalized and in doing whatever we can to help them and their families.
We will have extra counseling support available at all affected campuses."
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