Woodville student: 'I thank the Lord I am still here'

Source: KBMT
Source: KBMT

WOODVILLE, TX (KTRE) - Three of the students injured in the Woodville ISD bus crash remain in the hospital Friday morning, according to the school's superintendent.

Superintendent Glen Conner said there were 29 students on the bus, along with two coaches, one of which was the driver. He said the two students who were taken by helicopter to a Beaumont hospital were back home Thursday night, but three taken by ambulance remain in the hospital Friday morning.

Conner said all 31 passengers on the bus were treated at three different hospitals. About six were back in school Friday morning. On of those students was Zackary Martin.

"I just thank the Lord that i am still here," Martin said. "All I remember was I was asleep and I woke up and we were sliding. We tried to get back on the road and we started slipping. It was a scary moment."

Martin had no serious injuries and said the scene was hard to describe.

"I just remember everybody crying and I went into shock," Martin said.

According to the Texas Department of Public Safety report, the driver of the bus was going eastbound on FM 1013 near Kirbyville when the right tires of the bus went off the road. In an attempt to steer the bus back onto the road, the driver over-corrected, sending the bus into a side skid. The bus rolled over several times before coming to rest in an open field.

"After a thorough inspection of the school bus and analysis of evidence collected at the crash scene, Jasper County troopers found that there were no complete breaches of the front or rear access doors and a large number of windows were cracked, but still intact," said Trooper Stephanie Davis, a DPS spokesperson. "Troopers found no evidence that any of the occupants had been ejected from the school bus during the crash."

One of the first school officials on scene was principal Morgan Wright.

"Getting on the scene at the first, it was tough to see," Wright said. "These are our kids and to see what it looked like was pretty traumatizing. They truely were scared. Some in shock. Some of them were hurt. We were concerned for them."

Davis said an investigation of the accident is ongoing and that troopers will work to finish the final crash report within the required 10-day period.

The students were part of a track team on the way to Kirbyville for a meet.

"It was a part of the team scheduled to compete at a later time," Conner said. "We had actually sent a part of the team over earlier, but these were students that had to stay at school later to finish testing."

Conner said no citations have yet been issued against the driver and as of now, there will be no discipline for the driver.

"Right now, we're looking at procedural issues to help us be better," Conner said. "We didn't have an accurate list of who was on the bus and we feel like we're going to have to have a better procedure of keeping that kind of list and checking students off as they get on the bus."

"They did a great job in Jasper County," Conner said. "All received great care. It was a tragic scene, but the kids were cared for, and they did a great job. They worked well with parents, and we couldn't ask for a better response. They were well-prepared."

Conner said he was in his office when he learned of the wreck from a parent who was on the way to the meet.

"It's not easy. It's not a call you want to get," Conner said.

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