BILOXI, Miss. – Duane McKervey and his wife are from Bastrop and were enjoying their weeklong vacation with the Bastrop Senior Center Tour traveling to different casinos across the Gulf Coast.
They were almost to their final destination in Biloxi and had plans to see his sister when the unthinkable happened.
“You look out the window and here’s this big train coming right at you and you know it’s not going to stop in time and there’s nothing you can do,” explained McKervey. “You grab your loved one say, ’I love you.’"
McKervey and his wife were three seats behind the spot where the train plowed through. He said he believes the bus got stuck because of the incline to get onto the tracks.
“I feel that the bus high-centered on the track as we were crossing,” said McKervey.
He said the bus driver stopped before the tracks and then proceeded to go forward and got halfway over.
“I think he high-centered -- the wheels weren’t touching the ground, he couldn’t go backward or forward,” explained McKervey.
He said at that point, the stop arms at the intersection started to come down, indicating a train was on the way.
“After he tried several times, the light started going on for the crossing and the gates start coming down, he opens the door and tells everybody to get out,” said McKervey. “You got to understand, these are senior citizens, it takes them two minutes to get up out of their seats, yeah I would say a handful of people actually got off.”
McKervey’s wife was injured and is in critical condition.
“She’ll make it. She has broken ribs, lacerated spleen and she’s going to be in the hospital for several days,” said McKervey.
McKervey went back to the crash site on Wednesday to take pictures and pay tribute to the four people who died.
People in Biloxi placed four crosses and flowers for the people killed.
“We came out alive,“ McKervey said. “So there’s nothing to complain about.”
He also doesn’t fault the driver of the bus.
“There’s nothing that he could do, you know, other than get a running start to clear the ramp," said McKervey. "I would place no blame on that bus driver at all, none. I think he did everything he could do."