UPDATE 10:30 p.m.: Police trying to determine what happened when a tractor-trailer crashed into a bus carrying a Texas college softball team say the incident is being investigated like a homicide. The crash near the Texas-Oklahoma border on Interstate 35 killed four players and injured 15 others.
"We just know that the semi impacted the bus and the bus was traveling southbound on the interstate when the collision occurred," Oklahoma Highway Patrol Capt. Ronnie Hampton said, according to ABC News. "Right now, it's being investigated like a homicide. Something happened to cause [the tractor-trailor] to depart the roadway and impact the other vehicle."
North Central Texas College has responded to the bus-truck accident that killed four members of its girls softball team in Oklahoma Friday night by bringing home all its traveling sports teams home and organizing a vigil, FoxNews.com reported. The crash occurred when a tractor-trailer crossed over a highway median and plowed into the team’s bus near Ardmore, Okla. Police are investigating the incident as a possible homicide.
Please pray for the families of Brooke Deckard, 20; Jaiden Pelton, 20; Meagan Richardson, 19; Katelynn Woodlee, 18. #PrayersForNCTC
â€” NCTC (@nctclions) September 27, 2014
Three of the Texas team members were pronounced dead at the scene: Meagan Richardson, 19, of Wylie; Katelynn Woodlee, 18, of Windom; and Jaiden Pelton, 20, of Telephone. The fourth -- Brooke Deckard, 20, of Scurry -- was taken by helicopter to a nearby hospital, where she later died, according to NewsOK’s account of an Oklahoma Highway Patrol report released Saturday.
“This is the most traumatic event that NCTC has had in its 90 years of history,” Brent Wallace, president of the North Central Texas College, said at a press conference Saturday. He told reporters that, given the small size of the college and students’ close relationships, administrators had decided to bring back all teams that were traveling at the time.
“This is indeed a sad day for these families,” Wallace said, adding that counselors would be available on campus and that the school would be holding a vigil Sunday.
The tractor-trailer hit the bus after crossing over the median on Interstate 35, about 60 miles north of Gainesville, where the team’s school is located. There were 15 team members on the bus at the time, along with the coach, who was driving. He refused treatment at the scene, police told reporters. The tractor-trailer driver was taken to a hospital for injuries that were not life-threatening.
“Right now, it’s being investigated like a homicide,” Oklahoma Highway Patrol Capt. Ronnie Hampton told NewsOK. He explaining that police will test both drivers for signs of drugs or alcohol, which is standard practice in such a situation. “We don’t know if that’s the case here ... but something happened to cause him to depart the roadway and impact the other vehicle.”
Since the news broke, other schools have expressed their condolences via Twitter:
â€” D.B.U. (@DBUPatriots) September 27, 2014
â€” Harding U Volleyball (@HardingUVB) September 27, 2014
â€” Baylor University (@Baylor) September 27, 2014