‘All I was thinking was just him flying around the bus’ | Mother of pre-K student in Bastrop school bus crash recalls horrifying moments

The school bus involved in the crash was carrying pre-K students coming back from a field trip to the Bastrop Zoo.

BASTROP COUNTY, Texas — It’s been just a few days since the deadly school bus crash in Bastrop County, but the glass and metal scattered along the side of State Highway 21 is still a tragic reminder of what happened. 

One pre-K student from Tom Green Elementary School and one man were killed when a cement truck traveling eastbound hit the Hays CISD school bus transporting students from a field trip to the Bastrop Zoo, causing it to roll over.

RELATED: DPS: 2 dead after cement truck veers into Hays CISD school bus in Central Texas

“I just, I feel horrible that she lost her baby and didn’t get to bring him home, and I got to bring my son home,” said a mother of one of the Tom Green Elementary School students, who wishes not to be named. 

One mother who was on the field trip to the Bastrop Zoo with her 4-year-old son spoke to KVUE. She drove separately, and wasn’t on the bus when the accident happened. 

“We got to the field trip, all the kids had a freakin’ awesome time,” she said. “They’re full of, you know, life and happy.”

But she says things took a drastic turn when she didn’t receive the normal text that would notify her when her son’s bus made it back to the school.

Once she saw reports that a bus traveling westbound on SH 21 had been struck and rolled over, her heart immediately sunk.

“I knew it was their bus because it was the way that they were coming back,” she said. “I completely lost it.”

She then got a call from the school that the bus had been in an accident and they needed all the parents to come there. She remembers asking if her son was okay, before being told that they didn’t yet know.

“All I was thinking was just him flying around the bus because the bus didn’t have seat belts,” she said.

RELATED: ‘I am heartbroken’ | Hays CISD superintendent, others react to deadly Texas school bus crash

After what she said felt like an eternity of waiting, while the other parents were scrolling the news and seeing updates of a child and adult who had died, the parents were finally told where their kids were.

This mother’s son was rescued from a neighbor who lives across the street from the crash site. The man was using every towel and shirt in his house to rescue the kids.

“He’s a hero and selfless,” she said. “Literally took the shirt off his own back to help these children during … probably the most scary time of their lives.”

Her son is still recovering from a few physical injuries, but she says the mental trauma will last much longer. 

“I don’t know what he saw,” she said. “When I got him, he was … he was not himself.”

She said talking to him after the accident, one thing he told her is that he saw a “dead teacher.” (Note – A teacher was not reported to be killed, only the man in the Dodge Charger who crashed into the back of the bus. The mother thinks her son could be referring to a teacher who may have been unconscious.)

Both of her young children never want to ride a bus again. Her daughter was crying about going on an upcoming field trip. 

While she’s grateful her son was able to make it out alive, her heart breaks for the mother whose son was killed. 

“I just feel horrible that she lost her baby and didn’t get to bring him home,” she said. “I got to bring my son home. It’s a guilt feeling too.”

RELATED: ‘Tom Green has a very special place in my heart’ | Central Texas community rallies in support of Tom Green Elementary after school bus crash

Sunday, she and some other community members set up a roadside memorial to honor the lives lost at the site of the crash. 

“We wanted to start something so that these people could be commemorated and just know that people are thinking of them and with them,” said Celia Oosterhuis, a community member and teacher at Tom Green Elementary.

They also brought a stack of towels and supplies to replace what the neighbor graciously gave while rescuing all of the children. 

“As a mother, I would hope so deeply that someone would do that for my child and I would do it for his,” Oosterhuis said. 

In addition to the stuffed animals, two angels and candles on the memorial, the neighbor plans to make two wooden crosses to place there.

Along with honoring the lives, these community members hope the memorial will be a sign to people speeding down SH 21. 

“I hope people know it’s a child, and that’s very powerful,” Oosterhuis said.

RELATED: Fatal school bus crash the latest in a series of wrecks that have plagued Highway 21 east of Austin

Melia Masumoto on social media: Facebook | X | Instagram

KVUE on social mediaFacebook | X | Instagram | YouTube

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