Man gets 55 years for deadly church bus crash
He had pot, sedative in system before causing accident that killed 13
A man who was driving under the influence has been sentenced to 55 years in prison for causing a crash with a church bus that killed 13 people in the Texas Hill Country last year.
Jack Dillon Young, 21, of Leakey pleaded no contest in May to 13 counts of intoxication manslaughter and one count of intoxication assault. A Uvalde County jury sentenced him Friday after a threeday hearing; he had faced up to 270 years behind bars.
The National Transportation Safety Board ruled last month that Young’s use of marijuana and a prescription sedative led to the crash in Concan, about 80 miles west of San Antonio.
Young’s defense attorney, Rogelio Munoz, argued that doctors hadn’t monitored Young’s medication use properly and asked the jury for mercy.
Young’s pickup crossed the center line on U.S. Highway 83 on March 29, 2017, and collided head-on with the bus from First Baptist Church of New Braunfels.
The bus driver and 12 passengers, who were headed home from a senior retreat, died; only one passenger survived. The victims ranged in age from 61 to 87.
Authorities searching Young’s truck found unsmoked and partially smoked marijuana cigarettes, drug paraphernalia, prescription drugs and over-the counter medication. Toxicology tests later showed that Young had marijuana and the sedative clonazepam — used to treat seizure and panic disorders — in his system at the time of the crash, and he said he had taken twice the prescribed dose, according to the NTSB’S report.
Young’s family members testified that the family had been rendered dysfunctional by alcohol and drug abuse. Young told state District Judge Camile Dubose that a man had been sentenced to a lengthy prison term for sexually abusing him and numerous other boys. Young testified that he had struggled since that episode with mental and emotional trauma, contemplating suicide and taking prescription anti-anxiety medication as well as self-medicating with marijuana and alcohol.
“You can never get the feeling of dirtiness off of you,” he said.
Young told relatives of those killed that he wished he could ease their pain.
“They were beautiful people, beautiful families,” he said, “and I wish every day that it was me” who died.
JACK DILLON YOUNG