The school bus driver in a January crash in Athens, Texas, has been charged with criminally negligent homicide.

Athens, Texas, middle school student killed in train-bus collision

Jan. 29, 2019
Boy, 13, died and girl, 9, was seriously injured when the bus and train collided

A 13-year-old middle school student in Athens, Texas, was killed Friday afternoon when the bus he was riding in collided with a freight train.

KLTV-TV reports that Christopher Bonilla, who attended Athens Middle School, was killed in the crash. The only other student on the bus, Joselyne Torres, 9, who attends Athens Central Elementary, suffered serious injuries and was taken to a Dallas hospital. She was reportedly in stable condition Monday and was able to leave the intensive care unit. 

The driver, John Stevens, 78, was treated for injuries at a local hospital and released.

The school bus from the Athens district collided with an Union Pacific train Friday afternoon. The train and the bus came to a stop a quarter of a mile away from the initial collision at the Murchison Street crossing, and the bus was partially wrapped around the locomotive at the head of the train.

Authorities were investigating to determine the cause of the crash. The school district's communications coordinator, Toni Clay, says the bus was equipped with cameras, and the footage has been turned over to Athens police.

Classes resumed Monday as usual in Athens. School buses ran their normal routes, and a school resource officer rode the bus that’s on the route involved in the crash.

“On the routes where we feel like the children would be most likely to need extra reassurance, we have additional adults staffed on those buses who were there this morning and who will be there this afternoon,” Clay says.

Seventeen volunteer grief counselors were spread across all of the district's campuses with a focus on the two campuses affected.

“We’re just going to take the temperature of each campus and see how the kids are responding and what their needs are, and then we’ll adjust as we need to," Clay says. "We have more resources to draw on and if we have to we will.”

Athens is about 80 miles southeast of Dallas.

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