Man driving cement truck involved in fatal collision with school bus charged, admits to drug use

The Texas cement truck driver whose vehicle collided with a school bus full of young children returning from a field trip last week was arrested and charged with criminally negligent homicide.

On Friday, Jerry Hernandez was arrested by authorities at a residence in Bastrop County for his role in the March 22 crash that left two dead, one a five-year-old boy, after his vehicle crossed the yellow line on Texas State Highway 21 and into the path the Hays Consolidated Independent School District bus which swerved to avoid a head-on collision only to be struck by another vehicle and rolled over.

On board the bus were more than 40 pre-K students and 11 adults who were returning to Tom Green Elementary after a visit to the zoo. Those who died as a result of the tragic incident were Ulises Rodriguez Montoya, a five-year-old who was on board the bus, and 33-year-old Ryan Wallace – a doctoral student at the University of Texas – who was driving another vehicle that was hit by the truck.

The harrowing moment when the truck driven by Hernandez veered into the school bus’s lane was captured on dashcam video.

(Video: YouTube/KVUE)

The 42-year-old Hernandez allegedly admitted to smoking marijuana the night before the tragic incident and that he had “only slept about three hours before consuming cocaine at 1 a.m. the morning of the crash,” according to court documents cited by KVUE. Hernandez also reportedly refused to submit a blood sample.

“It’s bad enough to have a crash that happens. But to learn that it happened because of completely preventable, avoidable factors, really makes you angry,” said attorney Tray Gober who is representing the family of one of the injured students.

“We’re grateful for the fact that there’s been an immediate, serious criminal investigation on the case that will help deter future, similar crashes, but also just helping by pursuing these civil claims,” Gober said, according to KVUE.

(Video: YouTube/KVUE)

Hernandez was also arrested on an unrelated Hays County bond violation charge,” KVUE reports that “Court records show that bond violation was for an assault family violence charge from January.”

“Our prayers are with the families and the students of Tom Green Elementary,” Texas Governor Greg Abbott said in a post to X on the day of the crash.

Four victims were airlifted after the crash site in critical condition with an additional six more taken to hospitals by ambulance to be treated for serious injuries. The bus did not have seat belts, according to the school district.

“The district said about 40 other buses in its fleet also do not have seat belts,” KXAN reported, stating that Hays CISD Superintendent Dr. Eric Wright said that it’s “accelerating” the process of replacing the buses lacking the safety devices.

If convicted for criminally negligent homicide, Hernandez could be facing up to two years in jail and a fine up to $10,000,” according to the Associated Press.

Chris Donaldson


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