GARLAND, Texas (BP)–Of the 10 teenagers still hospitalized following the bus crash that killed five and injured 35 near Terrell, Texas, three remain in critical condition, according to church officials at Metro Church of Garland, Texas.
The chartered bus, carrying 40 teenagers along with counselors from Metro Church to a church youth camp in Ruston, La., crashed into an overpass support pillar on Interstate 20 about 30 miles east of Dallas June 24.
Killed in the crash was the bus driver, Ernest Carter, 51; Lindsay Kimmons, 16; Michael Freeman, 12; Amanda Maxwell, 13; and Michelle Chaney, 14.
In other developments:
— An autopsy performed on the driver of the bus produced no clues concerning the cause of the crash. The Dallas Medical Examiner’s Office concluded that no drugs, alcohol or pre-existing medical conditions were detected in the body of Ernest Sheldon Carter, 51, as reported by Fox News.
“I don’t think he fell asleep. He was just 30 to 40 minutes from his departure. Most people don’t fall asleep after driving 40 minutes, especially with 40 kids on the bus making some racket,” Kaufman County Judge Johnny Perry said.
Witnesses report the bus began to swerve just before slamming into the pillar. Officials continue to explore possibilities including fatigue and mechanical failure.
According to Dallas County and city of Dallas records, Carter had been convicted of theft, assault, escape, weapons possession and driving with a suspended license, as reported by the Dallas Morning News.
— A prayer service for the victims and their families is planned for 7 p.m. June 26 in the Metro Church Worship Center. Church officials are expecting a crowd of 1,000-1,200 people, especially teenagers, and will open the sanctuary for overflow. Counselors will be available on site.
“It’s going to be a time when our folks come together to pray and support each other and worship God,” said Metro Church Pastor Scott Camp. “I’m sure they’ll share whatever God has placed on their hearts, and the gospel will be presented.”
Camp alluded to the fact that some good is coming from this dark situation.
“Through all this tragedy, the gospel is being proclaimed. We had an impromptu service Monday night with about 700 people, and several were saved. I know that’s what the kids want,” he said.
— Funeral services have been planned for the four teens killed in the crash. A service for Amanda Maxwell, 13, is set for 10 a.m. June 28 at Metro Church in Garland.
A viewing for Michelle Chaney, 14, is scheduled for 6 p.m. June 26 at Williams Funeral Home in Garland, and a service is set for 1 p.m. June 27 at Arapaho Road Baptist Church in Garland.
A viewing for Michael Freeman, 12, will be from 5-7 p.m. June 26 at Rest Haven Funeral Home in Rockwall, and a funeral service will be at 10 a.m. June 27 at Metro Church.
For Lindsay Kimmons, 16, a viewing is planned for June 27 at Charles W. Smith & Sons in Sachse, and a service is scheduled for 2 p.m. June 28 at Metro Church.
— The church has set up a memorial fund for victims’ families. Gifts may be made to Metro Church Trust Account, Western Bank & Trust, P.O. Box 461545, Garland, Texas 75046-1545.