UVALDE, Texas (KXAN) – The driver who could be seen swerving in and out of traffic that ultimately ended in a crash that killed 13 members of a New Braunfels church in March has been indicted on 13 counts of intoxication manslaughter and manslaughter. A Uvalde County grand jury heard the case on Monday and issued the indictment on Wednesday.
Investigators said Jack Young, 20, of Leakey, Texas, was driving along Highway 83 near Garner State Park on March 29 when he struck the bus head-on. The church bus was carrying 14 senior members of the church who were heading home from a retreat. The preliminary report states Young crossed over the solid white line 37 times and entered the grass roadside at least five times before hitting the church bus.
In total, Young is facing 28 felony charges. He is charged with manslaughter and intoxication manslaughter for each of the 13 victims who died in the crash. For the one victim who survived the crash, Young is charged with intoxication assault and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
“As a state, we need justice,” said Jen Barrett. Her father was the driver of the New Braunfels bus, dying in the crash. “I feel like the state of Texas needs to get justice from Jack to prevent future incidents that are similar, but as a person it’s my responsibility to bring forgiveness.”
Barrett says she was briefed last Friday about the types of charges Young would face. “The charges didn’t surprise me, I knew it was coming. It’s a sad reality of society needing justice,” she said.
Just two weeks after Barrett lost her father in the bus crash, her mother passed away unexpectedly. Barrett says although she is still grieving the loss of her parents, she realized what Young could lose if convicted.
“Jack doesn’t owe me anything, it isn’t going to bring my parents back, its not going to pay any of my bills. It’s really such a tragedy that someone so young is going to spend so long in prison.”
Barrett says she has found some relief in writing. She’s started to blog, and as she tells her story she hopes it reaches people just as her parents and the other victims on the bus would have wanted.
“It was cool to see that this death was not in vain, that the gospel has gotten to be shared and that it kind of created purpose in the otherwise senseless, confusing situation,” said Barrett.
Jody Kulcher witnessed the crash and told KXAN he spoke to Young moments after the crash as he lay injured and pinned inside his vehicle. He said Young kept apologizing and told him he had been texting.
Kuchler saw Young driving erratically and was able to follow him for the next 20 minutes as he tried to relay to 911 dispatchers about where the driver was headed.
“We both had a feeling something was going to happen,” said Kuchler to KXAN days after the crash. “[The driver of the pickup truck] kept doing the same thing, [going] off the road and over into oncoming traffic, and some of the people were moving off to the side of the road to keep from getting hit head-on.”
Court records indicate Young had taken prescription medication before driving and had marijuana in his truck. An affidavit seeking a blood test says Young also told a trooper he had taken prescription medication including clonazepam and the generic forms of Lexapro and Ambien.
Young turned himself into the Uvalde County Jail on Wednesday. His bond is set at $380,000. If he were to post bond, he would have to comply with a curfew, an ignition interlock will be installed on his vehicle and he’ll have to submit to weekly urinalysis testing. His next court date is scheduled for July 20.