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Second victim of church bus crash dies

JACKSON, Miss. (BP)–Maggie Lee Henson, the 12-year-old girl who was pinned under a church bus when it crashed near Meridian, Miss., died Aug. 2 after struggling three weeks with severe head injuries and brain trauma.

“At 6:30 pm tonight, our precious Maggie Lee was carried into the arms of her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” her father, John Henson, wrote on her Caring Bridge webpage.

“For these last three weeks, she fought for her life courageously, with the skillful help of the medical staff at Batson Children’s Hospital here in Jackson,” Henson wrote. “She was blessed to have thousands of people praying and pulling for her. We celebrate her eternal life in the presence of her Creator tonight.”

Henson, who is associate pastor for emerging ministries at First Baptist Church in Shreveport, La., said he and others gathered around the seventh grader to pray.

Maggie Lee was the second child to die from the accident, which occurred July 12 when about 30 youth and adults from First Baptist Shreveport were traveling to a camp in Georgia. A tire on the bus blew out, causing it to flip several times.

Brandon Ugate, 14, died shortly after the crash, and Maggie Lee was trapped under the bus until a group of Alabama National Guard Soldiers arrived on the scene and set the bus upright. Maggie Lee was one of three of the injured who were airlifted to Jackson for treatment.

For weeks, Maggie Lee’s parents posted Caring Bridge updates as people left messages of encouragement in the webpage’s guestbook.

By Monday morning, more than 215,000 visits to the Caring Bridge page had been logged. The Shreveport Times noted one message posted by someone from North Carolina which said, “Words can not express how we, perfect strangers to you, have been so pressed to think about you and pray for you … checking on your family and Maggie Lee’s progress at all hours. We grieve with you now, again as perfect strangers, but in the body of Christ.”

After her death, Maggie Lee’s father wrote, “In keeping with the giving spirit of Maggie Lee, we are currently in the process of determining organ donation.”

The Times reported Monday that funeral services for Maggie Lee had been tentatively set for Wednesday. In addition to her parents, she is survived by a younger brother, Jack.
Compiled by Baptist Press staff writer Erin Roach.

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