Medication Use by Driver Blamed for Church Bus Wreck that Killed 13

The National Transportation Safety Board ruled today that the marijuana and prescription medication being taken by pickup driver Jack Young, along with a lack of seat belts in the First Baptist Church of New Braunfels bus, were to blame for the crash last spring in Uvalde County which left 13 church parishioners dead, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

NTSB investigator Dr. Kristin Pollard says a 14 minute video of Young driving down HIghway 83 in the minutes before the crash, which was taken by a driver behind him who was nervous about his driving, was a key factor in her decision.

"The driver was driving erratically, and sometimes he was in his lane of travel and sometimes he was not," she said of Young at the wheel.

The NTSB determined that 'the use of impairing drugs,' namely marijuana and prescription medication, was the main factor that led to the wreck.  

The NTSB did not blame driver inattention for the crash.  Young himself indicated that he had been texting right before the accident occurred.

Investigator Ron Kaminski also cited the fact that full seat belts are not required in mid sized buses like the one involved in the crash.

"Lap shoulder belts provide insufficient protection to bus passengers, and should be standard equipment in all seating positions on medium-sized buses."

The NTSB reviewed thousands of pages of investigative documents in reaching its findings.13 of the 14 people in the bus, which was transporting seniors from a retreat back home to New Braunfels, were killed in the wreck.

Young has pled no contest to 13 counts of vehicular manslaughter and one count of vehicular assault, and faces up to 270 years in prison when he is sentenced next month.

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