Children escape injury; pickup driver critical (video)

April 26, 2013 at 9 a.m.
Updated April 26, 2013 at 11:27 p.m.

YOAKUM - Three schoolchildren escaped serious injury after a pickup hauling a trailer collided with a Yoakum school district bus on a rural road Friday morning.

The driver of the pickup, Lex Forgason, 43, of Hungerford, was in the intensive care unit Friday night at Texas Trauma Institute at Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center in Houston, said a spokeswoman.

"Our prayers are with Lex and his family," said Tom Kelley, Yoakum superintendent. "Thank God everyone seems to be OK."

Kelley praised the actions of Kathy Lauer, 59, a 17-year veteran bus driver.

"Due to the quick response by Kathy Lauer, three Yoakum ISD students received only minor injuries from the accident and were released to family members after being taken to area hospitals for observation," said Kelley.

"Mrs. Lauer's driving reaction prevented serious injuries to the students on the school bus as well as herself. Her actions were truly heroic."

Lauer only said of the crash, "It happened real fast."

A 9-year-old fourth-grade girl was taken by ambulance to Citizens Medical Center in Victoria.

Two boys - one 12 and in the sixth grade, the other 9 and in the third grade - were also taken by ambulance to Yoakum Community Hospital.

Kelley met the parents at the Victoria hospital, and assistant superintendent Chris Kvinta met the students' parents at the Yoakum hospital.

The crash occurred about 7:45 a.m. when Forgason's 2006 Dodge pickup crossed the center line on Farm-To-Market Road 682 near FM 1447 in DeWitt County, said Department of Public Safety Trooper Gerald Bryant.

The road was damp, and Forgason was not wearing a seat belt, Bryant said.

Forgason was taken by ambulance to Citizens Medical Center and later taken by helicopter to the Houston hospital.

Kelley said Forgason was dropping off the trailer he was hauling before heading to Kingsville to see his daughter compete for El Campo High School at the Region IV-4A track meet, where she qualified in four events.



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