From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Church-Chartered Tour Bus Crashes in Colorado, Killing 3

Date 22 Dec 1999 20:06:15

    Church-Chartered Tour Bus Crashes in Colorado, Killing 3 
    by John Filiatreau 
    A tour bus returning from a ski trip in the Rocky Mountains skidded off 
an icy road and down a steep embankment Tuesday night, killing the driver 
and two teenagers from a Presbyterian church in the Houston, Texas, area. 
    The crash left dozens of young people injured, including at least 10 
who were in critical condition in Colorado hospitals yesterday (Dec. 22). 
    The bus, carrying 57 people, including 50 members of the youth groups 
of two Presbyterian Churches, spun out on winding Colorado Highway 50 about 
10 p.m., and rolled over at least three times before coming to rest in a 
gully 100 to 150 feet away from the point where the driver lost control, 
according to Police Chief Martin Stefanic of Canon City, Colo. 
    Officials said it had been snowing in the area and the highway was icy. 
    Passengers on the bus, youth-group members of Windwood Presbyterian 
Church of Cypress, Texas, and Bethel Independent Presbyterian Church of 
Houston, had taken part in a church-sponsored trip to the Crested Butte ski 
resort in western Colorado. 
    At least one other chartered bus, with passengers from Grace 
Presbyterian Church and Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church, both in 
Houston, arrived home safely. 
    The accident happened about 10 miles west of Canon City and about 90 
miles southwest of Denver, said Colorado State Patrolman Richard Breece. 
    "It's looking like they just lost control on the slush," he said. 
"We're still trying to piece things together." 
    A spokeswoman for St. More Hospital in Canon City said staff there had 
treated at least 48 patients and was using a waiting room as a triage 
    Fifteen of the most severely injured patients were transported to 
Memorial Hospital and Penrose Hospital, both in Colorado Springs. Ten were 
reported in critical condition yesterday. 
    A spokesman for Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church said the two 
youngsters who were killed were boys 16 and 17 years old, both from 
Windwood Presbyterian Church in Cypress, Texas, part of metropolitan 
Houston. He said the driver, apparently an employee of the bus company, was 
a 72-year-old man. 
    Representatives of the other churches declined to talk about the 
accident because they weren't certain that the families of all the victims 
had been notified. 
    Investigators at the crash site were trying yesterday to determine what 
caused the accident. 
    "They will look at skid marks and various other information at the 
scene to help determine what may have caused the crash," Ron Loven, a 
spokesman for the State Patrol, told the Associated Press. "They will also 
be inspecting the bus itself to see if any mechanical problem may have 
contributed to it." 

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