ATHENS, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – A middle school student in Athens, Texas died when a school bus collided with a train around 4:30 p.m. Friday according to the Athens Independent School District.
Athens ISD said on its Facebook page, “It is with great sorrow that we confirm one of our precious middle school students lost his life today when a district school bus collided with a train in Athens. One other student on the bus, a female at Central Athens Elementary, was careflighted to Children’s in Dallas.”
The child in the hospital is a 9-year-old girl in and she is in critical condition but stable as of 7:15 p.m. according to Athens Police.
No other students were on the bus, the district said.
The district said the bus driver, a 78-year-old man who had been driving for the district for about a year, was rushed to a hospital in an ambulance and is in stable condition.
“We ask that you join with us in humbly praying for their families,” the district said.
Out of respect to the families impacted, Athens ISD cancelled all athletic events scheduled for Friday evening.
The Athens Police Department and Union Pacific Railroad are leading the investigation, Athens Police said.
Athens Police Chief Buddy Hill said during a news conference Friday night, there are no crossing arms or warning lights at the crossing where the bus and train collided.
A prayer vigil was put together Friday night at First United Methodist Church of Athens.
The sound of Amazing Grace and sobbing filling the room.
Among those in attendance, a classmate of the boy who died and a teacher in the community:
“To show respect to him and to honor him,” said student Eli Smith.
Teacher Juan Moreno said, “Right now we are all hurting.”
Counselors will be at the schools on Monday.