Husband of school bus aide killed in Waller Co. crash forgives driver: 'I don't hold it against her'

WALLER COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- The school bus driver who was behind the wheel of a crash in Waller County last Friday said it all feels like a bad dream she cannot wake up from.

Patrice Cross-Creag declined to be on camera, but she told ABC13 she cannot stop thinking about the four children on her school bus. Three of them were in elementary school.

A high school student who was taken by Life Flight in serious condition to Memorial Hermann is now recovering at home.

The single fatality on the bus was Abigail Ragston, a dedicated aide who helped the students with special needs on their routes home.

SEE RELATED STORY: Aide killed in Hempstead ISD bus crash in Waller County, DPS says

"When I come home in the evening, no Abigail. When I lay down in the evening no Abigail to talk to about the day or to reach over and hold or hug. No Abigail," said Fred Ragston, her husband.

Fred told ABC13 he is relying on his faith and support from the Hempstead community following the fatal crash.

"You're at work and you get a call that a bus has turned over," he said. "And you know that the only bus in that location at that time, your wife is on that bus."

The incident happened Dec. 17 in the rural outskirts of Waller County on FM 1887 near Holik Road.

The Hempstead ISD school bus rolled over with six people on board. Three students were hospitalized, Cross-Creag was treated for minor injuries, and a fourth student was picked up by a parent at the scene.

Ragston was the only fatality.

"I cried and cried and cried in disbelief and I'm thinking, it's got to be a dream. I have to wake up," said Fred.

DPS investigators said it appears Cross-Creag over-corrected and lost control. No other cars were involved.

Investigators were still working to complete their full report.

Fred said he harbors no anger or blame for the crash, especially because he knows Cross-Creag was not only a coworker, but a longtime friend of his wife.

"They were very, very, very good friends," Fred said. "She talked about Creag all the time, and what Creag was going through, and how they have church on the bus, and how they inspire and encourage one another. They were very, very close friends."

In the spirit of Christmas week he said he forgives her for any weight she may be carrying.

"If there was a need for me to forgive her, I forgive her and I don't hold it against her," Fred said.

He said he and his wife of more than 20 years were a blended family with four children, four adopted children and seven grandchildren.

Fred said they kept a simple rule to get through life's ups and downs.

"We made it a practice, no matter what the disagreement or whatever, to say, 'I love you.' And we can come back to the disagreement later, but do not leave one another without saying that," he said.

That was the last thing Fred told Ragston in person Friday morning as she left for work.

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