Although he is yet to be charged with a crime, Jack Dillon Young, the 20-year-old driver who crashed into a bus killing 13 members of the First Baptist Church of New Braunfels, Texas, on March 29 was likely intoxicated while texting when the crash occurred, investigators say.
Court records cited by the San Antonio Express-News say Young revealed after the crash on U.S. 83 that he had taken two pills of Clonazepam and generic forms of the prescription drugs Ambien and Lexapro. He was also found with pot.
Clonazepam is used to treat certain seizure disorders in adults and children as well as panic disorder in adults. According to drugs.com, Clonazepam may cause dizziness or severe drowsiness resulting in falls or other accidents. People who take the drug are urged not to drive until they know how it will affect them.
The deadly crash occurred at about 12:25 p.m. on March 29 along U.S. Highway 83 North just south of Ranch Road 1050 in Uvalde where Young's pickup truck crashed into the church's bus carrying 14 members. The group of older adults were on their way home from a three-day retreat at the Alto Frio Baptist Encampment.
Rose Mary Harris, 64, of New Braunfels was the lone passenger on the church bus to survive. Young was hospitalized as well but a local news station has reported that he was released from University Hospital two Tuesdays ago.
A state trooper noted in a sworn statement that he had probable cause to believe Young was intoxicated at the time of the accident, according to the Express-News. A neighbor reported that on the morning of March 29, Young drove to Uvalde to fill drug prescriptions. A passenger in a vehicle behind Young later captured his truck on a smartphone video weaving from side to side over several miles before the deadly crash.
An affidavit signed by Trooper Scott Hewitt on March 30 cited evidence from the motorist's video and Young's own statements about the prescription medication.
Hewitt's affidavit also cites another trooper as saying investigators recovered two intact marijuana cigarettes from the center console of Young's truck, as well as five partially smoked joints.
The Texas Department of Public Safety identified the 13 deceased church members as: Murray William Barrett, 67; Howard Bryan Allen, 81; Rhonda Barlow Allen, 61; Barber, 87; Margret Robinson Barber, 82; Mildred Goodlett Rosamond, 87; Addie Maurine Schmeltekopf, 84; Sue Wynn Tysdal, 76; Martha Holcomb Walker, 84; and Dorothy Fern Vulliet, 84, all from New Braunfels. Others who died in the crash are: Cristie Clare Moore, 68 of Cibolo, Texas; Donna Elizabeth Hawkins, 69 of Schertz, Texas, and Avis Scholl Banks, 83 of Austin, Texas.
The Express-News reported Tuesday that the First Baptist Church of New Braunfels has been quietly holding funerals for their dead members. The congregation has also been praying for the lone survivor from the church bus that crashed, Rose Mary Harris, 64. She was released from the hospital Tuesday and is in a rehabilitation center.
"Our priority at this time is to comfort our grieving families and glorify God," Pastor Brad McLean told the News in a prepared statement.
He also said the church was praying for both Harris and Young at this time.
"We love her and hope she is able to join us back at church very soon. We're eager to see her beautiful smile again, and give her a big hug," he said.
"God's grace is for each one of us, and our church family extends our prayers to the driver and his family at this difficult time," McLean added about Young.
The deaths of the church members has resulted in renewed calls among state legislators to ban texting while driving. A woman who told the Express-News she was a friend of Young's family said they were besieged by "haters" once the crash drew national media attention.
There has also been very little sign of young at his family's home since his release.