Witness: Driver Was Texting Before Crash That Killed 13

There's no statewide Texas law against it
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 1, 2017 8:22 AM CDT
Authorities investigate after a deadly crash involving a van carrying church members and a pickup truck on US 83 outside Garner State Park in northern Uvalde County, Texas.   (Zeke MacCormack)
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(Newser) – A witness says the driver of a pickup truck that collided with a church minibus in rural Texas, killing 13 people, acknowledged he had been texting while driving—highlighting the dangers of sending messages on smartphones while behind the wheel. Texas Department of Public Safety Sgt. Conrad Hein wouldn't comment Friday on whether texting might have played a role in the Wednesday collision on a two-lane road about 75 miles west of San Antonio. But officials have said the truck driver appeared to have crossed the center line. The witness, Jody Kuchler, a 55-year-old self-employed welder, tells the AP he and his girlfriend were driving home when he came across a truck that was driving erratically across the road.

"He kept going off the road and into oncoming traffic and he just kept doing that," says Kuchler. He says he followed the truck for at least 15 minutes and called the sheriff's offices for both Uvalde and Real counties, telling them "they needed to get him off the road before he hit somebody." Kuchler says he witnessed the crash and afterward, he checked on both the bus and the truck and was able to speak with the driver of the truck, who has been identified as 20-year-old Jack Dillon Young. "He said, 'I'm sorry, I'm sorry. I was texting,'" Kuchler says. "I said, 'Son, do you know what you just did?' He said, 'I'm sorry. I'm sorry.'" Texas is unusual in that it has no statewide ban on texting while driving. (Read more Texas stories.)

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