Concrete truck driver that hit Hays ISD school bus charged with criminally negligent homicide

5-year-old boy, UT PhD student identified as victims in school bus crash

Video released by Hays ISD shows a concrete pumping truck veering into the oncoming lane and colliding with a school bus carrying pre-k students returning from a field trip. (Hays ISD)

BASTROP COUNTY, Texas – The driver of a concrete truck that drifted into oncoming traffic and collided with a Hays ISD school bus last Friday has been charged with criminally negligent homicide, according to Bastrop County criminal records.

The charge is a state jail felony, the least severe of all felonies, punishable by up to two years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000.

The Associated Press reported Jerry Hernandez, 42, was arrested at a residence in Bastrop County without incident.

According to court records cited by Austin news station KEYE, Hernandez admitted to using marijuana and cocaine and getting very little sleep.

The crash killed one pre-kindergarten student on the bus and the driver of another vehicle that was in the lane behind the bus on a highway in western Bastrop County.

KEYE reported that Hernandez told a Texas Department of Public Safety trooper that he only slept for three hours the night before the crash and had consumed cocaine the morning of the crash. The station cited a blood draw search warrant which also stated that Hernandez told the trooper he smoked marijuana around 10 p.m. the night before the crash and got up for work around 12:30 a.m., KEYE reported.

The bus was bringing pre-K students and 11 adults from Tom Green Elementary School back to the school following a field trip to the Bastrop Zoo.

The news about the concrete truck driver comes as Hays Independent School District released videos from cameras on that school bus.

The video from the front of the bus shows the oncoming concrete truck drifting across the double line in front of the bus at 1:58 p.m. The bus driver steers to the right to try to avoid hitting the truck, but they collide head-on with the truck about halfway into the lane.

One student on the bus, 5-year-old Ulises Rodriguez Montoya, was killed. A motorist in a Dodge Charger that struck the back of the bus was also killed. He was identified as UT student Ryan Wallace, 33, from Bastrop.

Superintendent Eric Wright said a total of 51 were injured, including the bus driver. According to the Associated Press, four people in critical condition were airlifted from the crash site and several others were transported by ambulance. All students have since been released from area hospitals. The district said an early childhood education teacher has the most serious injuries and “will take time to recover.”

The district called the bus driver a hero.

“We will be forever indebted to her, and the other adults on the bus, who, though injured, placed the children above themselves and their own well-being. Dr. Wright said today of the bus driver and the other adults that, ‘their actions saved lives,’” the release states.

The bus didn’t have seatbelts because it was a 2011 model, Tim Savoy, a Hays school district spokesperson, told the newspaper. New buses have been fitted with belts since 2017, he said.

About the Authors

Julie Moreno has worked in local television news for more than 25 years. She came to KSAT as a news producer in 2000. After producing thousands of newscasts, she transitioned to the digital team in 2015. She writes on a wide variety of topics from breaking news to trending stories and manages KSAT’s daily digital content strategy.

Rebecca Salinas is an award-winning digital journalist who joined KSAT in 2019. She reports on a variety of topics for KSAT 12 News.

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