12 KILLED IN CHURCH VAN, PICKUP COL­LI­SION

Van was car­ry­ing 14 se­nior mem­bers of a New Braun­fels church.

Austin American-Statesman - - FRONT PAGE - Amer­i­can-States­man Staff

Twelve peo­ple were killed and three oth­ers were in­jured Wed­nes­day when a pickup col­lided head-on with a van car­ry­ing 14 se­nior mem­bers of a New Braun­fels church on a two-lane high­way north of Uvalde, au­thor­i­ties said.

The crash hap­pened about 12:30 p.m. Wed­nes­day on U.S. 83 out­side Gar­ner State Park, about 75 miles west of San An­to­nio, said Sgt. Con­rad Hein of the Texas De­part­ment of Pub­lic Safety.

It was un­clear if the lone oc­cu­pant of the pickup was among the dead or how many of the dead were among the 14 aboard the church van, Hein said. In­for­ma­tion was unavail­able on the ex­tent of in­juries for the other three peo­ple, who were taken to a hospi­tal.

The cause of the crash hasn’t been de­ter­mined, Hein said.

The col­li­sion hap­pened at a ma­jor curve in the high­way, ac­cord­ing to the Uvalde Leader-News. That newspaper also re­ported that a woman said she called law en­force­ment about reck­less driv­ing in­volv­ing one of the ve­hi­cles, but au­thor­i­ties didn’t ar­rive be­fore the crash.

The Na­tional Trans­porta­tion Safety Board said it is in­ves­ti­gat­ing.

The van was car­ry­ing mem­bers of First Bap­tist New Braun­fels who were re­turn­ing from the Alto Frio Bap­tist Camp and Con­fer­ence Cen­ter in Leakey, about 9 miles north of the crash site. They had just fin­ished a three-day re­treat that in­cluded singing and Bible study.

As the church learned of the crash Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon, it can­celed its ac­tiv­i­ties that evening and said the sanc­tu­ary would be open for prayer and sup­port.

A state­ment on the church’s Face­book page said it hadn’t re­ceived any of­fi­cial de­tails from au­thor­i­ties, but the church was “min­is­ter­ing to fam­ily mem­bers to help them deal with this tragedy.”

Coun­selors will be at the church Thurs­day to of­fer sup­port, ac­cord­ing to the Face­book post.

“If you’re a Chris­tian, you can pray for those who lost their loved ones and for the church fam­ily,” the Face­book post said.

In a state­ment, Gov. Greg Ab­bott said he and his wife, Ce­cilia, ex­tend their “deep­est con­do­lences to the vic­tims and the fam­i­lies of those in­volved in to­day’s tragic event.” He said they are “sad­dened by the loss of life and our hearts go out to all those af­fected.”

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