Friday, March 31, 2006

Tragedy and sadness take over in my town

Alicia Bonura Ashley Brown

I had thought about not mentioning this car wreck in my blog because I'm so far removed from the school days and teenagers and though I feel really sorry and prayerful for them all, it's not anyone I know. But it's staying on my mind more than I thought it would. It's so sad.

Basically the West Brook High School girls soccer team were going to Humble in a chartered bus; it was raining; a truck in front of them dropped some of his load and the bus driver swerved - they turned over. Two of the girls died. One girl I think has lost her arm; and injuries vary from critical to scratches. I've done a blog search and found that one of the girls had a blog at MySpace - In answer to a question, who she wants to meet, she said that she "can't wait to meet God."
Here is the link to her webpage. Many of her friends are posting their sympathies and airing their grief there.

The Beaumont Enterprise, local paper, is full of articles, and local newscasts are reporting all the updates. Here's one article of the events as they happened on the bus.

Passenger describes horror of crashing bus
By: Jamie Reid and F.A. Krift, The Beaumont Enterprise
03/31/2006
Rain pounded the highway ... fog clouded the charter bus windows ... then, out of nowhere, foam panels dropped into the bus' lane on U.S. 90 ... The driver swung the wheel right then compensated left.


A bus crash that killed two West Brook soccer players Wednesday on their way to a playoff match in Humble played out like a movie to the girls on board.

Gasps of "Oh my God," filled the bus, sophomore Elise Huch said.

"A lot of people were screaming and we were scared," she said.

About 45 miles from Charles Street Stadium, where the Bruins were headed to play Houston Lamar, the bus driven by 41-year-old Lorri Ann White of Silsbee tumbled onto its left side with a mighty window-bashing crunch.

Laurel Battle, 17, can't begin to describe the scene. And she won't. It's just too horrible.


The 22-member soccer team left West Brook about 2 p.m., some surprised they would play in the bad weather, Battle said.

About 45 miles from Humble, some girls had started to curl up for naps.

The team watched the movie "Dude, Where's My Car?" and finished homework when "two huge white things," fell into the road, Huch said.

"Everything was normal. Then I saw that thing in the road," said Huch, who sat near the front.

Battle, like Huch, was on the good side of the bus, the right side. Battle has no lasting injuries; Hutch dislocated her left shoulder.

When the bus toppled to the left, Battle fell on top of three other girls.

Girls sitting on the left side, including the late Alicia Bonura, a senior, seemed to have more injuries. The other girl who died was sophomore Ashley Brown.

Head coach Rachael Scoggin attempted to calm the trapped girls, Huch said. When the bus stopped moving, Battle opened the roof hatch so bloodied girls could climb out.

Battle, sitting near the rear, never saw the piece of foam that apparently caused the driver to steer the bus off the roadway.

Battle doesn't blame White for the accident.

"There was no way she could have run over that (foam)," Battle said in defense of the driver.

The fogged windows unnerved Huch, 16 and in training for her driver's license. Asked a day later, Huch wasn't sure if the defrosters were working. White wiped the windshield clean, Huch said.

"You could barely see out the windows," she said.
jreid@beaumontenterprise.com(409) 833-3311, ext. 428
fakrift@beaumontenterprise.com(409) 833-3311, ext. 413
┬ęThe Beaumont Enterprise 2006


And then a friend of mine sent an email from a student who is trying to tell how things are in the school. This is all so familiar because even though it's been so many years ago when I was in high school there was an incident where some senior boys had gone to the beach and they were all asphixiated with carbon monoxide poisoning. I remember going from one funeral to another, and how the grief and sadness took over the whole community.


From: xxx
Date: 3/31/06 8: 20:37 a.m.
Subject: Fw: FYI on West Brook
FromSubject: FW: FYI on West Brook
Here is an email from my friend who is a Senior at West Brook. I just got it and thought you might want to know what was going on.


I can't even begin to describe school today. In my first period class, our teacher tried to tell us what happened to clear all the rumors, and she started bawling. One of the girls was in our class and although she has pretty bad injuries to her hips, she's having surgery this morning, she was the one who kicked out the emergency window and pulled out 8 to 10 girls. We all sat there in silence for about 35 minutes and then slowly started to talk, and cry, about things. As I sit here typing this, you can hear the clicking of keys sending out emails and searching for imformation, an Among Thorns CD and news casts from the computers and televisions we have in the room.
The halls are eerily quiet. You can hear some hushed conversations, but mainly all you hear is crying and the shuffling of feet. It's so sad that something like this had to happen, but it's slowly bringing us together as a school and that is an awesome thing!
What's even more amazing is the presence of God. Everybody is talking about Him, even the teachers. Text messages were going out like crazy! A girl put one on the chalk board in my 1st period class, and our teacher passed it on to the other teachers. It's really amazing how something that is not allowed to be talked about normally is so strongly present.
2 coaches came to talk to us and they said that most of the injuries were upper body injuries and a lot of people had road rash and really bad ant bites all over from laying in the grass. As of 12 midnight, there was only on girl who's arm they reattached and couldn't be saved. Only 6 girls are still at St. E(Elizabeth) and one is probably going home today or tomorrow.
All you can do in a time like this is pray, so I ask that you continue to pray for the girls families, their friends, and all of us here at West Brook. Pray that we can come together and get through this as a community and that God can start to heal some of the horrific pain we're all facing.
Also, feel free to pass this on as you see fit.
-Katie


2 Comments:

At 3/31/2006 03:56:00 PM , Blogger Luz said...

My thoughts and prayers go out to those who were killed as well as their families. Let's not forget the bus driver as well who must feel horrible over this tragedy! I cannot even begin to imagine what she's feeling. I would want to crawl into a grave over something like this. A whole community is mourning--even as far as Houston.

 
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