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.
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:
Pray for injured, students, families of students in Alabama bus crash near Mobile. Reports are they are marching band members from the Channelview ISD returning from Disney World. — praysbtc (@praysbtc) March 13, 2018
Sheldon ISD is sending prayers to Channelview High School band students, their families and @ChannelviewISD staff members following this morning's incident in Alabama. — Sheldon ISD (@SheldonISD) March 13, 2018
my prayers go out to channelview band, be strong guys!! — Natt (@natalieecelest) March 13, 2018
Keep the Channelview band in yall’s prayers. Such horrible news to wake up to — 🦖 Michael Scott, General Manager 🦖 (@Rigo_220) March 13, 2018
Prayers for the entire Channelview community. Healing prayers for all band students and staff involved in the early morning bus crash. May our Lord give their families the strength to get through this trying time. — TESA (@tesatexas) March 13, 2018
my thoughts and prayers goes out to the channelview band kids. this is so sad. Hoping everyone is okay! 💛💙 — aliyaah 🌻🦒 (@aliyahhgtz) March 13, 2018
Prayers for the Channelview HS band and students that was on that bus back to Houston this morning! 🙏🏽 I had to make sure my lil brother was ok cause he was on that trip with them but a different bus. — Slick Ric da Rula (@5thWardRiC) March 13, 2018
Thoughts and prayers to Channelview ISD band kids and parents- and continued prayers for a safe journey for all those returning from the same trip. HHS band- safe travels. ❤️ — Humble HS IB (@hhsibdp) March 13, 2018
Prayers out to the channelview band man ... hope everyones good 😢 — Aldair (@Mitchy_1o) March 13, 2018
prayers going out to channelview band 🙏🙏👼 — ✨🎯 (@jussttooo) March 13, 2018
The Channelview Band is in my prayers. I cannot believe this happened — tArDIs (@Demigod1521) March 13, 2018
🙏💔 If everyone could, Please say a Prayer for All involved in the charter bus accident in Alabama. The bus was carrying highschool band students from my small hometown of Channelview, TX on their way back home from Disney 💔🙏 and also please keep the parents in Prayers 🙏🙏🙏 pic.twitter.com/NesJmvMABQ — TX🤠Deplorable April (@AprilDay365) March 13, 2018
Prayers for the Channelview HS band, and those chaperoning the trip. That bus accident looked horrific! Such a tragedy after what looked like a great time at Disney World. — Dr. K. Childs 📕📝 (@DoctorKChilds) March 13, 2018
Please keep the Channelview band students in your prayers. This is so heartbreaking — Celeste (@celesterenee02) March 13, 2018
God please be with the Channelview band kids 🙏🏼 — Suzy (@susanaaa_97) March 13, 2018
Prayers out to all those band kids from channelview that were in the bus 🙏🏽🙏🏽 😔 — Diesel (@DieselDiosdado) March 13, 2018
Say a prayer for Channelview High students, parents and faculty. Their band was in a serious bus accident last night. At least one person was killed and there are multiple with serious injuries. — Jeff Keese (@JKeester) March 13, 2018
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