Athens ISD School Bus Driver Speaks Out Following Deadly Crash - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Athens ISD School Bus Driver Speaks Out Following Deadly Crash

Police identified the driver of the bus Saturday as 78-year-old John Stevens

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    Athens ISD Bus Driver Speaks Out Following Deadly Crash

    The investigation continues into Friday's deadly crash involving a train and school bus in Athens, Texas. More has come to light about the school bus driver, who police say drove over train tracks right into the path of an oncoming train. (Published Monday, Jan. 28, 2019)

    The investigation continues into Friday's deadly crash involving a train and school bus in Athens, Texas.

    More has come to light about the school bus driver, John Stevens, who police say drove over train tracks right into the path of an oncoming train.

    Students at Athens Middle School returned to class Monday morning wearing maroon to honor classmate Christopher Bonilla.

    Students also placed flowers at a memorial inside the school building in memory of Bonilla. The 13-year-old was killed in Friday's crash.

    Priest Calls Crash 'Darkest 24 Hours' Parish Has Ever Had

    [DFW] Priest Calls Athens School Bus Crash 'Darkest 24 Hours' the Parish Has Ever Had

    Father Nolan Lowry of St. Edward's Catholic Church in Athens says the last day has been the hardest his parish has ever experienced, following a school bus crash that killed a 13-year-old boy.

    (Published Saturday, Jan. 26, 2019)

    Bonilla's 9-year-old cousin was seriously injured in the crash.

    Bonilla's funeral will be held Friday at 11 a.m. in the Athens High School gym and classes at all campuses will be canceled, the school district said. Athletic events involving Athens ISD teams will also be rescheduled.

    Those wishing to help the families affected by the crash can donate to a benefit account at two First State Bank locations in Athens -- downtown and Tyler Street -- as well as in Malakoff, Mabank, Gun Barrel City and Corsicana.

    The school bus driver, identified by police as Stevens, arrived at his home on Monday with visible injuries to his face and arm.

    The 78-year-old spoke briefly with NBC 5 and said he wished "40 million times over it wouldn't have happened, but it did," adding "it was an accident."

    Regina Fuller is Steven's longtime neighbor.

    Police Identify Students Aboard Bus in Deadly Athens Crash

    [DFW] Police Identify Students Aboard Bus in Deadly Athens Crash

    Police identified Saturday the two students aboard a school bus in Athens when it was struck by a train Friday afternoon, killing one of them and injuring the other.

    (Published Saturday, Jan. 26, 2019)

    "He gets up, goes to work and he's really been shook up since Friday," she said.

    Fuller said she has driven over the exact crossing where the accident happened.

    "There's no light or nothing, nothing for the train to go down, so cars be going through there," she said.

    Athens police said Stevens came to a stop, then continued to cross the tracks directly in front of a Union Pacific train.

    Although there are not automated arms or warning lights in place, a witness told police they heard the train's horns as it got closer to the crossing.

    Athens Independent School District's spokeswoman told NBC 5 that Stevens was hired last August and had driven buses at two other school districts in the state for 11 years.

    Child Killed When School Bus, Train Collide in Athens

    [DFW] Child Killed When School Bus, Train Collide in Athens

    Athens ISD says a middle school student was killed and an elementary school student and the bus driver were injured after a school bus was hit by a Union Pacific train around 4 p.m. Friday when the bus was in a train crossing.

    (Published Saturday, Jan. 26, 2019)

    "[He] came to us with a clean driving record, passed every single test, has every bit certification that a bus driver is supposed to have. That includes a medical examination. He got it, he passed it," Athens ISD spokesperson Toni Clay said.

    However, Clay would not say whether bus drivers undergo additional training on a district level.

    "From the time he was hired until the tragedy on Friday, there was no incident involving that driver," she said.

    Athens police are leading the investigation. Union Pacific is also investigating the crash.

    Police were looking at the crash report Monday afternoon trying to determine what led to the crash. Police would not say whether the school bus driver will face any criminal charges.

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