BIG SPRING, TX (12/02/2016) — A school bus accident on Friday night claimed the life of Elizabeth Pope and injured several others.
UPDATE 05/16/2017: A toxicology report released by DPS officials states that Sandra D. Dunson (the driver of the gold Buick Century) had a BAC of 0.123 the night of the accident. Dunson died on March 15th, 2017 due to causes unrelated to the accident.
UPDATE 12/15/2016: The DPS crash report indicates that the driver of a gold Buick Century made an unsafe lane change and collided with the semi truck that entered westbound lanes, crashing into the bus. The report also notes that drugs and alcohol may have contributed to the accident.
UPDATE 12/06/2016: All three of the Iraan High School cheerleaders injured in Friday’s accident have been released from the hospital, and Christina Garlock is listed in satisfactory condition.
According to authorities, 52-year-old Elizabeth Pope (of Iraan, TX) was killed in school bus crash that occurred on Interstate 20 (near mile maker 173) just west of Big Spring, Texas.
The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) reported that at around 10:45 p.m., the driver of an 18-wheeler traveling eastbound on I-20 collided with an Iraan-Sheffield ISD school bus (2015 Chevrolet van) heading westbound.
According to reports, the truck driver (Nijimbere Eliphase) was following another eastbound passenger car prior to the accident, and appears to have swerved right to avoid a collision as the car applied its brakes. This maneuver caused the semi-trailer to then enter the westbound lanes and crash into the school bus.
The school bus was carrying six Iraan High School cheerleaders and two sponsors, returning home after a football game in Colorado City, Texas. One of the sponsors was Elizabeth Pope, who lost her life in the wreck.
Pope’s sister, Christina Garlock, was reportedly driving the bus. She suffered serious injuries that required surgery, but is now in stable condition.
“We lost a sponsor, the other has broken ankles, legs, ribs, a pelvis, and bone in her back. One cheerleader has fractures in her spine, one has a fractured skull and jaw, one was intubated and all four are going to Lubbock. One got stitches in her elbow and a sling for 10 days, as well as a broken nose. Others have scrapes and bruises. Please continue to pray,” said Michael Davis.
All eight victims were initially taken to Scenic Mountain Medical Center in Big Spring, and three of those victims—cited as cheerleaders—were treated and released. Four of the victims were reportedly later transferred to University Medical Center in Lubbock, Texas. Two of those patients remain in critical condition. Katie Kent and Kiara Hodge were both listed in stable condition. Lynda Martinez has been released.
An investigation is pending.
Officials have not said whether or not the at-fault party will face charges for this incident. If you have any additional information, please leave a comment below.