Two dead, 13 injured after church charter bus crashes on way from youth conference

First responders on the scene after a church charter bus carrying 10 adults and five children crashed in Pueblo, Colorado, Sunday, June 23, 2019. | Screenshot: CNN

A three-day national youth conference for teenagers ended with at least two people dead and 13 others injured on Sunday when a charter bus carrying a group of 15 from New Mexico crashed in Pueblo, Colorado.

“It is with heavy hearts that we inform you that a group from New Mexico, which attended this weekend’s Steubenville of the Rockies Conference, were involved in a tragic and fatal bus accident. We ask you to please pray for everyone involved and their families,” the Steubenville of the Rockies Youth Conference announced in a post on Facebook late Sunday.

The Steubenville Youth Conferences, an outreach of Franciscan University of Steubenville, are a series of 25 conferences across North America that help teenagers celebrate Jesus every summer. The aim of the effort is to “build the Church by evangelizing, equipping, and empowering God’s children to become radical and joyful disciples.”

Last weekend’s conference, held June 21-23, was hosted by the Archdiocese of Denver which also called for prayers on Facebook on Sunday night.

“Please pray tonight for a Catholic group from New Mexico who were involved in a tragic bus accident this afternoon in Pueblo. The group had attended the Steubenville of the Rockies Youth Conference in Denver and was on its way home. We send our prayers and deepest condolences to the families and friends of those who were killed, and our prayers for healing and comfort for those who were injured,” the Archdiocese wrote.

Colorado State Patrol spokesman Sgt. Blake White told CNN that the charter bus which was carrying 10 children and five adults appeared to have hit an embankment under a bridge. State Patrol Cpl. Ivan Alvarado told Fox 31 that the bus was traveling southbound on Interstate 25 when it veered off the highway about 10 miles north of Pueblo after hitting the bridge.

It was confirmed that the driver of the bus, a 22-year-old man who may have had an unspecified medical issue that contributed to the crash, was ejected from the bus during the accident and died. His identity was not immediately released. Thirteen others sustained injuries varying from minor to critical, police said.

Three medical helicopters and dozens of ambulance and fire crews reportedly responded to the 2:40 p.m. accident. Six of the injured were taken to St. Mary Corwin Medical Center in Pueblo and six others to Parkview Medical Center in Pueblo West.

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