ATHENS, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – A community in mourning came together Friday morning to say their final goodbyes to a 13-year-old student killed in a school bus crash with a train in Athens last week.
The funeral for Christopher Bonilla was held at the Athens High School gymnasium to celebrate his life.
Bonilla was killed on Jan. 25 after an Athens ISD school bus he was on was hit by a train while crossing the tracks near Cream Level Road. He was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash.
His cousin, nine-year-old Joselyne Torres, was also on the bus at the time, and she was critically injured. Police said the following Saturday she was in stable condition after having surgery.
The bus driver identified as 78-year-old John Stevens was treated for minor injuries and was shortly released from the hospital after the crash.
According to the police chief, there was only a cross buck at the intersection where the crash happened. Police emphasized that the bus was dragged about a quarter of a mile after the initial impact. The police chief said the bus was dragged to an intersection that did have lights and a crossing arm, which is why video from Chopper 11 showed a broken crossing arm at the scene.
The exact cause of the crash is still under investigation.
Earlier this week, students and faculty honored Bonilla by wearing maroon and writing messages on windows in front of the school to remember the 13-year-old. At his funeral, many did the same.
Hundreds poured into the gymnasium to offer their respects to Bonilla.
“I just felt like I needed to be here to show my support and love. It is a tragedy. When one is affected, we’re all affected,” said resident Larry West.
“My daughter knows the girl from Central, and my son knows him from middle school. And I know both of them from subbing at both school. It kind of touched us, so we had to be here for support,” said substitute teacher Tiffany Hadnot.