Drug Use Confessed in Fatal School Bus Crash

A Texas cement truck driver, who allegedly caused a fatal accident involving a school bus filled with 40 preschoolers returning from a field trip, has confessed to using cocaine and marijuana prior to the incident. The driver, identified as Jerry Hernandez, initially claimed that he was forced to swerve into oncoming traffic due to a stalled vehicle in his path. However, recently released dashcam footage contradicts his account, showing no such vehicle in front of his cement truck.

The chilling video, captured from inside the Hays Consolidated Independent School District bus, reveals the cement truck abruptly crossing the double yellow lines on a rural highway outside Austin. The truck collided with the bus with such force that it rolled across the pavement, scattering papers across the road.

The impact was so severe that the bus’s roof crumpled to the ground as onlookers rushed to aid the young victims. The entire incident unfolded in less than 10 seconds.

The tragic accident, which occurred on March 22, claimed the lives of 5-year-old Ulises Rodriguez Montoya, a passenger on the bus, and 33-year-old Ryan Wallace, a Ph.D. student at the University of Texas at Austin, who was driving another vehicle struck by the cement truck.

Hernandez, 42, was arrested on Friday and charged with criminally negligent homicide, according to Sgt. Deon Cockrell of the Texas Department of Public Safety. While hospitalized, Hernandez reportedly told officers that he had smoked marijuana the night before the crash and consumed cocaine at 1 a.m. after only three hours of sleep, as per court documents.

The bus was carrying 40 preschoolers and 11 adults from Tom Green Elementary School in Buda, who were returning from a zoo field trip. Following the crash, four individuals were airlifted from the scene in critical condition, while six others with serious injuries were transported to hospitals by ambulance. The school district confirmed that the bus was not equipped with seat belts.

If convicted, Hernandez could face a prison sentence of up to two years and a fine of up to $10,000.