CONCAN, Texas (KXAN) — As the National Transportation Safety Board continues to investigate the crash that killed 13 members from First Baptist New Braunfels, authorities have released 911 calls from drivers who reported a person in a pickup truck driving erratically.
Uvalde police Lt. Daniel Rodriguez says a man called about 12:02 p.m. Wednesday to report the swerving truck heading north on U.S. 83 and to ask deputies to respond. Other calls followed. A total of eight calls were made to the Real and Uvalde County dispatchers.
Here is a transcription of one of the first calls made to 911 regarding the truck.
Time: 12:07 p.m.
911 Caller: There’s a white dually — I’ve already called Uvalde — I’m following this guy, he’s in a white Dodge dually. He’s all over the road–both sides. Somebody needs to stop this guy. We’re getting close to Concan.
Dispatcher: That’s going to be Uvalde County, sir.
911 Caller: Well somebody… somebody needs to get this guy off the road. I’ve already called Uvalde.
Dispatcher: Your name?911 Caller: He’s going to hit somebody head on or he’s going to kill his own damn self — somebody needs to get this guy off the road.
KXAN sat down with Leakey resident, Jody Kuchler, who says he was concerned about the way the pickup truck was swerving in and out of its lane well before the crash occurred. He is one of the witnesses who called 911.
“We both had a feeling something was going to happen,” said Kuchler. “[The driver of the pickup truck] kept doing the same thing, [going] off the road and over into oncoming traffic, and some of the people were moving off to the side of the road to keep from getting hit head-on.”
Kuchler said he followed the pick-up truck for at least 20 minutes before the collision occurred.
“That bus was coming around the other direction and the driver of the bus moved over to the right, but there’s a guardrail there. There was no where else he could go, and they hit head-on,” he said.
After the crash, Kuchler responded first to the passengers on the church bus.
“The elderly people that was in that bus -– them women that was still alive — none of them was crying. None of them complained. None of them asked for help. They just looked at me whenever I told them to hang on — help’s on the way,” said Kuchler, getting emotional.
He then went around to check on the driver of the pickup truck.
“He was kinda half-way down in the floor board. He was pinned. He couldn’t get out and he asked me to help him. I said, ‘Son, do you know what you just did?’ He said, ‘I’m sorry, I was texting.’ He said, ‘I’m sorry, I’m sorry,'” Kuchler said. “Nobody should be texting and driving anyway. It don’t matter. I don’t care if there’s a texting ban or not. This just cost 13 peoples’ lives.”
Kuchler said the tragedy is especially difficult to understand, believing it could have been prevented.
“It never should have happened,” he said.
The Texas Department of Public Safety would not speculate Friday about what caused the head-on collision, although one spokesman said the truck driver appeared to have crossed the center line.