KHOU Houston Photo
Two Mt Pleasant ISD buses were returning from the Paris Relays last night. Around 10:45 at Talco an 18-wheeler veered into the lead bus carrying the boy’s track team. The girl’s bus was about a mile behind. The bus driver, Van Bowen, tried to avoid being hit head-on by the 18-wheeler and went into the ditch. The 18-wheeler struck the bus despite the bus driver’s efforts and a car, driven by a Mt Pleasant girl’s assistant track team Coach Angelica Beard. The accident killed the driver of the 18-wheeler, Bradley Farmer, 50, of MO, and Coach Beard. Paramedics transported Coach Van Bowen to a Tyler hospital with a student. Doctors released the student and took Coach Bowen into one surgery overnight. He is in critical condition. First Responders and paramedics took a total of 20 people to five area hospitals including Titus Regional, ETMC Pittsburg, Hopkins County Regional, and Parkland. Not involved was the girl’s track team bus. Superintendent Judd Marshall said Mt Pleasant schools are open with clergy on hand including other schools helping with students today.
At 3:00 pm Friday, only three coaches and one student remain in the hospital. Most of the students were released to their parents late last night.
“This is a tragic accident that resulted in the death of a beloved teacher and the injury of numerous students and coaches, it could have been much worse,” said MPISD Superintendent of Schools Judd Marshall. “If not for the quick-thinking and reaction of the school bus driver, this would have been a head-on collision.”
“We are heartbroken at the loss of Angelica,” Marshall added. “Our prayers go out to her husband, children and her extended family. We are also praying for the coaches and students who were involved in this accident. Whether they suffered physical injuries or not, all have been seriously affected by this event. We would ask for your prayers for the healing of all involved and for our District and Community.”
“I would like to thank the staff at Titus Regional Medical and all the emergency responders for the excellent care they provided to our students, coaches and the family members that were there last night,” Marshall said. “They were concerned not just for their medical needs but for their emotional needs as well.”
There will be a community-wide prayer vigil tonight at 6 p.m. in the Co-Ed Gym on the Mt. Pleasant High School campus. It will be led be MPHS graduate and Center Church pastor Jeremy Thomas. The public is invited to attend and show support for our students and staff.