Texas school bus crash: 1 boy, 1 man killed in Bastrop County crash; 53 people evaluated

A boy and a man were killed after a major crash involving a Hays CISD school bus, a concrete truck and another vehicle in Bastrop County on Friday, March 22.

According to Austin-Travis County EMS, around 1:59 p.m., a crash was reported with more than 40 people involved near SH 21 and Caldwell Road. 

Texas DPS said a concrete truck ran into a school bus. A vehicle that was behind the school bus was also involved in the crash.

One student, who was on the bus, and one man, who was in a third vehicle involved in the crash, were killed, DPS said. There were also several injuries inside the school bus.

According to Hays CISD, a school bus carrying Tom Green Elementary pre-K students was involved in the crash. The students were returning from a field trip to the Bastrop Zoo.

There were 44 students and 11 adults on the bus, the school district said.

"Parents of students on the bus have been notified directly from the campus. The district is in the process of conducting reunification. Hays CISD transportation staff, counselors, safety and security personnel, and other administrators have all joined first responders either at the accident scene or at the reunification location," Hays CISD said in a statement.

SH 21 near the Caldwell/Bastrop County line was shut down, but opened back up Friday night.

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Neighbors say they rushed in to help when they heard the crash with dozens of children involved.

"I heard a few loud bangs, I saw my neighbors running out towards the street, so I figured I'd better go make sure everybody's alright," Gabriel Calderon said.

"We ran to see the kids who were hurt, to see how they were doing and started to take them out of the bus," Alejandro Anaya said.

"Very bloody, a lot of blood, lots and lots of blood, there's a lot of crying and screaming," Calderon said.

As parents themselves, it hit home for them.

"There are multiple shirtless men out here just because a lot of the kids had gashes and people were just bleeding heavily, so we tried to do what we could until EMS got on scene," Calderon said.

Hays CISD Superintendent Eric Wright says he's heartbroken about the death of a pre-K boy and the other driver behind the bus. 

The school district says the reunification process finished at 6:45 p.m.

The superintendent thanked the bus driver and other adults who insisted that children be tended to first even though the adults were injured themselves.

"I'm worried about the driver. I was on the bus with her, she was pinned down pretty bad, I stayed with her the whole time until EMS arrived, really kind of worried about her," Calderon said.

The tragedy happened on what neighbors call a dangerous highway.

"There's been wrecks here, there's been wrecks further down the road," Anaya said.

People from across the state have offered their thoughts as those affected begin the process of grieving and healing.

"Can't imagine what had gone through [the kids'] minds, how they felt, must have been pretty traumatic," Anaya said.

The Capital of Texas Zoo also released a statement:

"The Capital of Texas Zoo is heartbroken to have learned that not long after leaving the zoo from their field trip this morning, the bus carrying the students from Tom Green Elementary in Buda was involved in a tragic accident.

The staff, parents, and students of Tom Green Elementary are in our thoughts and prayers. We extend our deepest condolences to everyone involved. We understand the impact this incident may have on the community and are here to offer support in anyway we can during this difficult time."

A GoFundMe has been set up by a community member to help students and staff with expenses related to healing, off-setting funeral expenses for the student who passed away, and other unexpected expenses incurred by families affected by the accident, according to Tom Green Elementary principal Jennifer Hanna.