BASTROP, Texas (KXAN) — It was a long night for many of the friends and family of those involved in the deadly bus crash in Biloxi, Mississippi.
“It was not a good night.” Shirley Tymel, like many of her friends, spent the morning at the Bastrop Senior Center, hoping for any updates on the condition of her friends.
“I’m drinking coffee at 2:00 in the morning or 4:00 in the morning, because you just want to take your mind off it,” Tymel said.
She was signed up to be on the exact bus that was struck by a freight train in Biloxi Tuesday afternoon, but she backed out for reasons even she can’t really explain.
“I don’t know what it was that stopped me. I like to gamble and go to the casinos, but this time I didn’t want to spend the money,” she said.
Tymel says now it’s about coming together, to show support for the victims, but also the people of Bastrop. Even strangers showed up at the Center, bringing hope in the shape of cookies.
“We automatically go into ‘how can we help’ mode and prayer mode and we love to give back to the community. This community has definitely experience a lot of tragedies,” said Ashley Mutschink, who brought two boxes of cookies to offer solitude.
Kathty Metcalf spent the night by the phone, hoping for updates on her sisters. “My sister was in the ICU with a collapsed lung, she is stabilized as of this morning. My little sister Lisa is out of the hospital, she got thrown from the bus out the window and has stitches, bruises, cuts and a hurt leg,” Metcalf said.
Her real hope is finding out how this crash happened. “One of the news reports last night said that, since 1976, this crossing has been an issue, so why hasn’t it been fixed? What is wrong with fixing something that is broken?” Metcalf asked.
For now, she says, the people of Bastrop coming together proves there is light despite the darkness. “This is how America is supposed to be. We are not supposed to be at each other’s throats, we are supposed to be America and we are supposed to help each other. And that’s what Bastrop does.”
During a press conference on Wednesday, Bastrop Police Chief Steve Adcock said the outpouring of support from the community has been overwhelming. He said he’s had phone calls from car dealerships offering their vehicles and staff to drive to Biloxi to retrieve any stranded passengers.
For those looking for a way to help, Adcock suggested donating to a fund set up for the victims at First National Bank in Bastrop (Acct: 2142222).