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At least 12 dead in crash involving Central Texas church group near Garner State Park

San Antonio Express-News logo San Antonio Express-News 30/03/2017 By Kelsey Bradshaw, San Antonio Express-News

A major collision has shut down Highway 83 near Garner State Park, the Uvalde County Sheriff's Office announced and news outlets are reporting multiple fatalities. © Photo: WOAI-KABB TV A major collision has shut down Highway 83 near Garner State Park, the Uvalde County Sheriff's Office announced and news outlets are reporting multiple fatalities.

A New Braunfels church group returning from a choir retreat Wednesday afternoon was involved in a major collision near Garner State Park resulting in at least 12 confirmed fatalities.

Texas Department of Public Safety spokesman Lt. Juan G. Hernandez said the bus and a Dodge dually pickup truck collided head-on at 12:23 p.m. on U.S. 83 North, just south of Ranch Road 1050.

Hernandez confirmed 12 people died in the accident, and that three others were transported to a hospital. Hernandez said the bus was carrying 14 people and there was one driver in the truck.

Texas Highway Patrol is continuing to investigate the crash, Hernandez said.

An area resident told the Uvalde Leader-News that she was behind one of the vehicles involved in the crash and called to report reckless driving before the crash occurred.

First Baptist New Braunfels Pastor Brad McLean told mySA.com a van from the church was carrying seniors from the Alto Frio Baptist Camp and Conference Center, where they were on a choir retreat.

"We just want to be, obviously, thoughtful of the families," McLean said. "We know one of our church vans was involved in the accident. We're just continuing to wait on information."

The Uvalde County Sheriff's Office said at 2 p.m. that traffic is being re-routed thru state Highway 127 near Concan and FM 1050 by Garner State Park and expect the highway to be closed for several hours. The National Transportation and Safety Board tweeted that they are also investigating the accident.

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"We are saddened by the loss of life and our hearts go out to all those affected," said Gov. Greg Abbott in a statement. 

The church said all planned activities have been canceled, although they will be open for prayer and support tonight. He said counselors will be on hand at the church as well. 

"We are just trying to work through this," he said, adding everyone is anxious to receive more news.

Staff writer Jacob Beltran contributed to this report.

kbradshaw@express-news.net

Twitter: @kbrad5



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