12 dead after church van full of seniors and pickup truck crash - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

12 dead after church van full of seniors and pickup truck crash head-on in Texas

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Photo courtesy of NBC News. Photo courtesy of NBC News.

by DANIELLA SILVA and ALEXANDRA BACALLAO

A dozen people were dead and several others were injured after a church van carrying senior citizens and a pickup truck collided head on in Texas Wednesday afternoon, authorities said.

Texas Department of Public Safety Sgt. Conrad Hein told NBC News that 12 people were dead and three others were injured during the crash, which took place around 12:23 p.m. local time (1:23 p.m. ET) near Garner State Park in Concan, Texas.

The DPS told NBC News that the crash involved a van carrying 14 people and a Dodge pickup occupied only by its driver on the U.S. Route 83 Highway.

The pickup truck was traveling northbound on the highway and the church bus was traveling southbound, officials said.

Authorities on Wednesday evening were still investigating what led to the crash. The National Transportation Safety Board also said it will investigate the crash.

The First Baptist New Braunfels church said in a statement on Facebook that a "group of our senior adults" were returning home from a three-day retreat when they were involved in the crash. The church said that counselors would be on hand Thursday and asked for prayers for the church family.

Church administrator Norm Hills told NBC News that the church had very little information and was "anxiously awaiting calls from DPS."

Texas Governor Greg Abbott expressed his condolences in a statement on Twitter, saying, "We are saddened by the loss of life and our hearts go out to all those affected."

Senator Ted Cruz, R-Texas, also tweeted a statement, saying his "prayers are with the families impacted by this tragic accident — especially for those who have lost loved ones."

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