New Braunfels church holds first service since 13 killed in crash

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New Braunfels church remembers 13 members killed in bus crash (LAURA McKENZIE | Herald-Zeitung)

The church that lost 13 members after a bus crash held its first service since the crash.

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A witness says the driver of a pickup truck that collided with the church minibus in rural Texas, killing 13 people, acknowledged he had been texting while driving - highlighting the dangers of sending messages on smartphones while behind the wheel.

Texas Department of Public Safety Sgt. Conrad Hein wouldn't comment Friday on whether texting might have played a role in the Wednesday collision on a two-lane road about 75 miles west of San Antonio, near the town of Concan. But officials have said the truck driver appeared to have crossed the center line.

Jennifer Morrison, the investigator in charge of the team from the National Transportation Safety Board, would only say that distracted driving will be among the issues investigated.

The witness, Jody Kuchler, a 55-year-old self-employed welder, told The Associated Press he and his girlfriend were driving back to their home in the nearby town of Leakey when he came across a truck that was driving erratically across the road.

"He kept going off the road and into oncoming traffic and he just kept doing that," said Kuchler, who first shared the account of what happened with the San Antonio Express-News.

Kuchler, who followed the truck for at least 15 minutes, said he called the sheriff's offices for both Uvalde and Real counties and told them "they needed to get him off the road before he hit somebody."
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