BASTROP, Texas (KXAN) — The first group of passengers who survived a train and bus collision in Biloxi, Mississippi, have returned home to Bastrop.
Members of the community greeted the group warmly, as they also remembered those they lost.
Maureen Tanner, a friend of Deborah Orr, 62, who was identified as one of the four victims Wednesday, said, “I can’t believe she’s gone. It just doesn’t seem possible. I keep saying it and I see it. But, she’s not gonna come through that door anymore.”
According to the Harrison County Coroner’s Office in Mississippi, Orr died at Merit Health Biloxi after undergoing surgery. She is the only Bastrop resident who was killed in the crash. Orr’s husband was also on the trip and on the charter bus at the time it was struck. At last report, he remains in a Mississippi hospital.
Tanner says the loss of Deborah Orr will be felt for a long time at the Bastrop Senior Center. Orr was an active member there and was proud to be a “Red hatter.”
Hats, Tanner says, were a part of who she was. “She has hats for everything. If you see Debbie without a hat, you ask her if she feels OK,” Tanner continued.
“She kept us happy. And if there was a party to be had, she made sure it went well.”
Orr designed the senior center’s veterans’ wall by hand and was happy to be involved. “Debbie,” as her friends knew her, made it a point to celebrate life, especially when getting older.
“She always put her best into everything. And she’s gonna be dearly missed. I mean, you don’t find that kind of person very often,” Tanner said.
On Wednesday night, eight passengers who were involved in that bus-train accident were dropped off at the First National Bank in Bastrop.
In all, 50 people were on board, including 49 passengers and the bus driver. They were also on the casino tour in Biloxi, when the bus became lodged on train tracks.As passengers started to get off the bus, some couldn’t make it off the bus in time
More passengers will come home today. Some of them decided to ride home with family members. Members of the community, who greeted the returning bus, came bearing gifts like flowers and simply wanting to show support for survivors.
One of them was an unidentified man who’s friend, Justine Nygren, returned from Mississippi. Nygren was sitting right behind the bus driver and was able to get off.. She says seeing the train slam into the bus was a shock. Now her prayers are with the other seniors trying to heal.
“We’re just happy some of the people are on their way to get back home. And, we’re looking forward to the rest making their way,” Nygren’s friend said.
Members of the Bastrop County Victims Services were also on scene to greet them.
“We’re hoping for fast recoveries for all those who aren’t here,” said Nygren.
Bastrop’s police department said a number of people have called asking how they can help victims. For anyone wanting to donate to the cause, a fund has been set up at the First National Bank for the victims of the crash under the name “Biloxi Senior Trip.”