In the wake of a two-vehicle wreck involving a Shelbyville ISD school bus that claimed the life of an 13-year-old boy and injured multiple other students, the district’s superintendent said Tuesday that everyone in that small community has been affected by the loss.
“It’s under investigation at this time, so there’s not a lot of details we can go into at this time,” said Dr. Ray West, the Shelbyville ISD superintendent. “What I can tell you is any time our community, our school experiences a loss, it affects us all.”
The Texas Department of Public Safety provided updated information Tuesday afternoon. The student who died has been identified as Victor Lee, 13, of Shelbyville. The initial DPS report stated that the boy was 11.
West sent a letter out to parents of Shelbyville ISD students on Tuesday explaining the situation. Here’s the text of the letter.
Dear Shelbyville ISD’s Learning Community:
It is with great sorrow that I report to you that yesterday afternoon there was a bus accident that resulted in the death of one of our precious children. All of the students involved in the accident were evaluated at the scene by first responders. Some students were released directly to their parents. Others were transported by ambulance to area medical facilities for more in-depth diagnosis and treatment. Thankfully, all of the students who were taken to local medical facilities were treated yesterday evening and released to return home.
Words cannot express the pain and grief all of Shelbyville ISD’s learning community share in this tragedy. Our thoughts and prayers go out to family and friends of all involved. Since the accident is still under investigation, I will not share specific details at this time. Nonetheless, I do want to request that we all strive to respect the feelings and privacy of our students and their families as they cope with yesterday’s tragedy.
Additional counselors are available at the school to provide support to any students or staff members who need assistance. Since children react to emotional events differently, it is important that teachers and parents work together to continue to assess the needs of our students and respond to those needs. Please let your child’s teacher or principal know if you have a particular concern, or if you think your child needs some extra attention and support.
Shelbyville ISD would like to express its gratitude to all of the first responders, medical personnel, parents, students, friends, and community members who provided their extraordinary assistance to our students and bus driver yesterday. Also, thanks to the surrounding school districts who called and offered Shelbyville ISD their support. The response to the accident and its aftermath was swift and diligent. We are truly blessed to be surrounded by countless individuals who offer unconditional love and support to Shelbyville’s learning community. As this school year draws to an end, Shelbyville ISD will continue to work with all of you to provide a positive and safe learning environment for all of our students. Thank you.
The crash happened at approximately 4 p.m. Monday afternoon. A press release from the Texas Department of Public Safety stated that the school bus turned over after it was struck from behind by a 1997 Dodge truck driven by Courtland Vaughn, 20, of Shelbyville.
A Shelbyville Independent School District bus was turning right from FM 139 onto CR 2552 to travel south when it was struck from behind by a 1997 Dodge pickup,” a press release stated.
Vaughn was not injured in the crash, according to the DPS press release. The driver of the school bus was identified as Marla Denby, 53, of Shelbyville. She was treated at a local hospital for her injuries, the press release stated.
“Several other students involved in the crash were transported to area hospitals,” the press release stated.
The investigation is still ongoing at this time.
Authorities in Shelby County called a medical helicopter to the scene, which involved Shelbyville ISD bus No. 3.
A helicopter was staged at the Ephesus Baptist Church near the school bus crash, according to Rhonda Oaks, a spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Transportation. That helicopter had left the scene by 6:15 p.m.
Oaks said that FM 139 was temporarily closed from FM 2427 to State Highway 87.
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