Church bus passengers were wearing seat belts, feds say

NTSB investigates fatal crash involving First Baptist Church New Braunfels bus

By David Ibanez - Web - Managing Editor

UVALDE, Texas - A federal official said Friday that most -- if not all -- of the passengers riding in a bus from First Baptist Church New Braunfels were wearing seat belts when it crashed head-on into a pickup truck in Uvalde County, killing 13 and injuring two.

Jennifer Morrison, investigator in charge with the National Transportation Safety Board, addressed the media Friday afternoon regarding the investigation into the Wednesday afternoon crash on U.S. Highway 83 near Garner State Park.

Morrison said that the federal agency's probe will focus on transportation safety and "what can be done to prevent future crashes."

She said a team of seven investigators will gather facts and evidence for about a week.

"We're aware of many different claims and they will be part of the investigation," Morrison said regarding media reports that the driver, Jack Dillon Young, admitted to texting prior to the crash.

The KSAT Defenders on Friday obtained recordings of emergency calls made by witnesses to the Real County Sheriff's Office moments before the crash, saying that Young was driving erratically.

"We're aware of many different claims, and they will be part of the investigation," Morrison said.

Morrison said the 2007 Dodge Ram pickup truck crossed over the center line and into the path of a 2004 Ford Econoline 350 van that was converted into a passenger bus.

She said "it's actually quite common" for small to mid-size vans to be converted into passenger buses.

Morrison said that investigators will talk with Young and the survivor of the church bus when they've recovered from their injuries.

She said NTSB's probe is being conducted in tandem with the Texas Department of Public Safety. Morrison said DPS will focus its investigation on any criminal activity involved in the crash.

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