Texas school district releases video of fatal bus crash

This dash camera video shows the collision from the bus driver’s perspective. Audio has been removed.

BUDA, Texas (KXAN) – A school district in Texas released the video Accident between a concrete truck and a school bus which on Friday, March 22 killed two people and injured several others.

The crash involved a Hays Consolidated Independent School District bus and a concrete truck. It resulted in the deaths of two people – 5-year-old Ulises Rodriguez Montoya and 33-year-old Ryan Wallacedoctoral candidate at the School of Journalism and Media at the University of Texas at Austin, who was traveling in a car behind the bus.

The video shows the bus traveling westbound on SH 21 outside of Austin, returning from a field trip to the Bastrop Zoo. Just before 2 p.m., a truck traveling eastbound on the same highway, veered into the bus lane and hit the bus.

Nextstar’s KXAN has learned that the concrete pump truck that collided with the school bus was operated by a small trucking company called FJM Concrete Pumping LLC. The company is based in Smithville and operates only one truck, which is approved for interstate, non-hazardous material transportation, according to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration records.

Federal records show no history of crashes, inspections or violations for the company. The company was formed in May 2022 by Francisco Martinez Jr.

Parents earlier said it was many of the students’ first field trips

“It’s just an emotional wreck,” Hector Campos, whose daughter was on the bus, told KXAN “It’s very sad. We’re trying to keep it together. But you know, we’re being as positive as possible.”

In anticipation of video of the crash being released to the media, a Hays CISD spokeswoman sent a note to family members asking them to prepare.

Dear Family and Staff of Bus 1106,

Let me begin by expressing how deeply heartbroken I am about the tragic accident you were involved in. I know that processing this trauma is taking tremendous strength and courage on your part. The entire school district community, and the entire nation for that matter, is in your corner.

You may already know that school buses are equipped with cameras inside and outside. We have turned over all video from bus #1106 to law enforcement officials who will use it as part of their investigation.

In Texas, a school district is a public entity and subject to the Texas Public Information Act. This law ensures that you, and any member of the public, have access to almost any information created or maintained by the school district – including bus videos. As a public entity, the district belongs to the taxpayers. Another law – the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) – protects certain information about individual students. For example, your children’s educational records. That information is for parents.

The district received a request from the Austin American-Statesman for copies of videos of the bus during the crash under the Texas Public Information Act. It is not unusual, nor unexpected that we receive such a request. It is the job of journalists to access and evaluate what your government (school district) does so they can better serve the public on your behalf. This dynamic also helps ensure transparency. The District bears no ill will toward any media organization that requested this material.

I am emailing to inform you that pursuant to the Texas Public Information Act, the District requires, and will, release the off-bus videos to the media. These videos do not feature any children. However, it may still be upsetting for you to see them because you were involved in an accident. Please be aware that once released, the videos will likely be widely circulated on social media and we will receive requests from additional media outlets for the same material. I want you to be prepared so you can make up your own mind about whether you want to see them.

Under provisions in FERPA, to protect the privacy of educational records, the district seeks to prevent the release of internal bus video because that video shows identifiable images of students in Hays CISD. The district considers internal videos to be part of the educational records of the children depicted in them We may be challenged not to release internal videos, but we will work to protect them from release.

I want to tell you that in my role in the district, I often work with members of the local and Austin-area media. They are professionals and covering sad news like our bus accident is hard work. I also know that they are human and share the pain and suffering we all feel. They revealed it to me this whole week. I expect that they will handle the release of the released videos with care and professionalism, balancing the sensitivity of the content with your rights and the public’s right to have access to business conducted by the school district.

I expect to release the video this afternoon.

My heart goes out to you all as do my prayers.

Tim Savoy, Hays CISD Chief Communications Officer

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