SAN ANTONIO, TX- Wednesday, Jack Dillon Young began his sentencing hearing for the bus crash he caused that killed 13 people on March 29, 2017, on Highway 83 in Uvalde County.
The deceased victims included the driver of the bus and 12 seniors. Only one passenger survived. All individuals on board were from First Baptist Church New Braunfels and they were on their way home from a church retreat in Leakey.
It was reported by San Antonio Express-News that the National Traffic Safety Board determined that Young lost control of his truck due to his misuse of the prescription anti-depressant drug clonazepam and the use of marijuana, ultimately saying that his drug-impaired driving is what led to the crash.
San Antonio Express-News describes some details of the hearing saying “In his opening remarks, Young’s lawyer, Rogelio F. Munoz asked for mercy, calling Young a ‘boy’ and describing the crash as an accident. He also shared intimate details of his client’s ‘tragic childhood’ and blamed his doctors.”
“My client has accepted responsibility for each and every one of these charges. We are not here to make excuses,” Munoz reportedly stated during the trial.
Munoz added that Young is the child of alcoholics and a victim of sexual assault, which lead him to suffer from depression. He was prescribed the anti-depressant drug but Munoz claims that Young’s doctors caused him to over-medicate by not monitoring his intake.
A 14-minute video was submitted to court from the hearing’s first witness, an individual who had been driving behind Young at the time of the crash. The video showed the truck veering and ended 12 seconds before the truck hit the church bus. While the video was being filmed, the driver and his wife were on the phone with police attempting to have them intervene.
Before it was discovered that Young was driving under the influence, he initially said that he was texting and that caused him to crash.
Further investigation determined that this was not true. Upon reviewing the content from Young’s phone, the Department of Public Safety noted in court that there were many text messages about “bud, smoke, bars, green, ‘shrooms, X and oxy’s” along with drug transactions exchanged with Young being the seller.
News4 SA reported that as many as 10 people are listed to testify for the state and prosecutors explained that testimony in this phase could last up to three days. Testimony is set to resume November 8 at 9 AM.
San Antonio Express-News reported that Brad McLean, pastor of First Baptist Church in New Braunfels, said, “Obviously, since the accident, [the families and friends of the victims] have been waiting for a judicial outcome. I’m hoping that this chapter of the entire event will be closed.”
In June 2018, Young pleaded no contest to the 13 counts of intoxicated manslaughter and one count intoxication assault. Young faces up to 270 years in prison.