A middle school student in Athens, Texas died when a school bus collided with a train around 4:30 p.m. Friday according to the Athens Independent School District. A 13-year-old boy was found deceased at a railroad crossing while a 9-year-old girl was trapped in the bus and required extrication, the Athens police chief said.
The girl is in critical, but stable condition, said Buddy Hill, Police Chief , Athens School Department. No other students or passengers were on the bus.
“I’ve been in this profession for 21 years and this is by far the worst day of those years,” said Athens school superintendent Blake Styles. “Our hearts are broken for the families and everyone involved in that accident. We’ll have counselors on every campus Monday morning to help students.
Athens Independent School District said on its Facebook page: “It is with great sorrow that we confirm one of our precious middle school students lost his life today when a district school bus collided with a train in Athens. One other student on the bus, a female at Central Athens Elementary, was careflighted to Children’s in Dallas.”
No other students were on the bus, the district said.
The district said the bus driver was rushed to a hospital in an ambulance.
“We ask that you join with us in humbly praying for their families,” the district said.
Out of respect to the families impacted, Athens ISD cancelled all athletic events scheduled for Friday evening, CBSDFW.com reported.
The Athens Police Department and Union Pacific are leading the investigation, according to CBS affiliate KYTX in Tyler.
From CBSDFW’s Chopper 11, it appeared that the school bus was hit on the driver’s side and pushed several yards down the tracks.
As darkness fell on the scene, broken railroad crossing arms could be seen laying near the intersection.
Railroad flashing lights were still blinking where the train was stopped across the road.