AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – A 20-year-old Texas man who told authorities he was texting while driving has been charged with manslaughter after a head-on collision with a small church bus that killed 13 people, a district attorney said on Thursday.
Jack Young was indicted by a grand jury on Monday in connection with the March 29 crash in Uvalde County, about 80 miles (130 kms) west of San Antonio.
Thirteen senior adults affiliated with First Baptist New Braunfels church died as they returned home from a retreat, and the sole survivor on the bus was seriously injured.
Young is charged with 13 counts of manslaughter and 13 counts of intoxication manslaughter, second-degree felonies that can bring up to 20 years each in prison, Uvalde County District Attorney Daniel Kindred said in a statement.
Young also is charged with using his pickup truck as a deadly weapon. He has surrendered to authorities and is in custody in Uvalde County, the district attorney said.
A lawyer for Young was not immediately available for comment.
The National Transportation Safety Board has said two witnesses in a vehicle behind a pickup truck driven by Young recorded a 14-minute video showing his vehicle crossing roadside barrier lines 37 times prior to the crash.
“After the crash the pickup driver told the witnesses and the police that he had been texting,” the NTSB said in a report.
(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz, additional reporting by Jim Forsyth in San Antonio; editing by Colleen Jenkins)