Outpouring of support, love after Channelview ISD marching band charter bus crash

By Amanda Cochran - Social Media Producer, Rose-Ann Aragon - Reporter

HOUSTON - Since the deadly bus crash in Alabama, people from across the nation, but particularly in the Houston area, have voiced their support and concern for the survivors of the Channelview Independent School District marching band tour bus crash.

READ: Driver killed, dozens injured in crash of Houston-area charter bus in Alabama

A second bus that was part of the Channelview ISD caravan arrived back in the Houston area about 1:30 p.m. Police escorted the bus as it pulled off the freeway and into the parking lot of Channelview High School. People could be seen hugging children as they got off the bus while Texas state troopers looked on.

A GoFundMe account has been set up for the Channelview High School band members and their families.

Parents and students react to crash

In Channelview, Frances Dodson-Benson woke up to a call from 15-year-old son, on a phone that wasn't his. She said her son, DeWayne Benson, was a clarinet player on the bus that crashed.

"I was blessed he was able to call. He was coherent enough, had his wits about him enough to be able to find a phone and contact us," Dodson-Benson said.

It was a call no mother wants to take at 5:30 a.m.

"'There was a wreck, mom.' He said the bus went off the road. I think it was in a ditch," Dodson-Benson said.

Her son said many people were sleeping when the bus took the 50-foot plunge into the ravine.

"It looks like a really bad wreck. That really scared me once I saw the site," said Dodson-Benson.

Her son and other children were taken to a hospital, where they waited as others were treated.

"In like the auditorium in a resting room with all the other kids," DeWayne said to his mother.

Meanwhile, Channelview ISD Superintendent Greg Ollis said he was on his way to Alabama.

"We have a lot of parents that are already en route to pick up their children. They left a long time ago. Right now we're working with the airlines," Ollis said.

He said some children were understandably too shaken to take ground transportation.

"Some of them were trapped under the seats in the bus, and (DeWayne) was trying to help get people up," said Dodson-Benson.

At the school were band alumni, hoping to have a prayer circle Tuesday morning and offering their support.

"We just wanted to come and lift up the students," said band member alumni Chloe Balderas.

Community members have planned a fundraiser for Saturday, March 24, at at Sterling Wood Church, just 10 minutes west of Channelview High School.

Band member Berenice Montelong waited all morning to see her classmates who were able to return Tuesday afternoon.

"I'm really worried to see who comes and who is over there in the hospital," Montelong said. "We're always going to be there to support them."

Meanwhile other parents await their children's return. 

"Was he overly tired? Did he veer? Because there was no other cars mentioned," Dodson-Benson said. "I just want to see him, instead of hearing his voice. I just want to see him, have him here."

Here are some of the touching messages shared Tuesday in support of the students and their families:

 

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