A small school bus with six cheerleaders and two cheerleader sponsors was traveling home from Iraan-Sheffield School District after an away football game when it was struck by a semi-truck on Friday. As of today, three cheerleaders remain in the hospital following the bus accident in West Texas, and one cheerleader sponsor and ISD teacher has died, CBS DFW reports.
According to a spokesman for the Medical Center in Lubbock, Eric Finley, the three cheerleaders who remain hospitalized are in satisfactory shape. He did not reveal any further information regarding their conditions.
Sgt. Oscar Villarreal with the Texas Department of Public Safety said that the accident is still being investigated. Elizabeth Pope, 52, a cheerleader sponsor and ISD teacher, was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident, and the remaining seven bus occupants were sent to the hospital. Four were released on Saturday, and three remain hospitalized.
The school district is fairly small, with just under 600 students.
According to News West 9, the semi-truck lost control after he swerved to miss a black Dodge Challenger that suddenly braked, and entered the westbound lanes of Interstate 20, striking the school bus.
The owner of the Dodge Challenger has been in touch with the Department of Public Safety and an investigation is still ongoing.
Sanangelo Live revealed more of a timeline of the accident. After the accident, two of the eight bus passengers were considered to be in critical condition, and two others in serious condition. One victim was unconscious and had to be incubated in order to breathe. Two victims had broken legs, and one victim had a broken arm and a broken leg.
CBS 7 confirmed at 10:15 a.m. on Saturday that Elizabeth Pope has died as a result of her injuries sustained during the bus accident. Also, the School Board President, Margaret G. Holmes, has confirmed that three of the cheerleaders still remained hospitalized at Lubbock hospital, while the remaining cheerleaders were treated and released.
Holmes sadly discussed with CBS 7 how heartbroken everyone is who knew Elizabeth Pope.
“I know them well. Christina’s husband serves on the board with me as well; Steven Garlock. And of course, they have children in band, and football, and cheerleading. The Castaneda family is a big family in our area, and these two sisters were particularly involved in our school district. We are saddened by the loss. It’s difficult to go from cheering and being so excited about winning the game to tragedy like this.”
Christina Garlock, the sister of Elizabeth Pope and the driver of the school bus, was one of the girls injured and still remaining in the hospital. The School Board President is devastated following the bus accident.
Michael Davis posted to a 2012 Iraan Homecoming Facebook group and asked for prayers.
“We lost a sponsor, the other has broken ankles, legs, ribs, a pelvis, and bone in her back. One cheerleader has fractures in her spine, one has a fractured skull and jaw, one was intubated and all four are going to Lubbock.One got stitches in her elbow and a sling for 10 days, as well as a broken nose. Others have scrapes and bruises. Please continue to pray.”
Holmes was optimistic that the district will make it through this tragic time, mentioning, “we will unite and come together and support one another.”
“The community is heart broken and we are just coming together and grieving. Both girls are a big part of the community and we’re heartbroken.”
According to KTXS, Starla Warren, a cheer coach from Crane, Texas, has started a Facebook Page in support of the bus accident victims. He has set up a fund account through Brave National Bank to benefit the victims.
If you would like to donate, the account information is as follows:
Pray for Iraan Benefit Fund-Fund #230173
Brave National Bank
P.O. Box 577
Iraan, TX 79744
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