ATHENS, Texas — On Monday, school districts from all across East Texas showed support for Athens Independent School District following a fatal school bus crash by wearing maroon.
However, on Tuesday, Centerville ISD in Deep East Texas took that support a step further.
The district provided therapy dogs to Athens Middle School to love on some of the students who were most impacted by the tragedy.
On Friday, January 25, around 4:30 p.m., an Athens ISD school bus was struck by a Union Pacific train on the railroad tracks near Cream Level Road.
The bus to came to a rest on North Murchison Street, approximately a quarter of a mile from the initial point of contact.
Police say bus driver and two children were on the bus at the time of the crash.
Christopher Bonilla, a 13-year-old student at Athens Middle School, was ejected from the bus and pronounced dead at the scene.
Joselyne Torres, a 9-year-old student at Central Athens Elementary and Bonilla's cousin, was trapped inside the bus after the train came to a stop. The Athens Fire Department was able to remove her from the vehicle. From there she was flown to Children's Medical Center in Dallas where she was recently released from the Intensive Care Unit.
The bus driver, identified as John Stevens, 78, was taken to a local medical center where he was treated and released.
Funeral services for Bonilla will be held at 11:00 a.m. Friday, February 1, in the Athens High School gymnasium. School for that day has been canceled.
A benefit account has also been set up at an East Texas bank to assist the families of the juvenile victims.
To donate to the account, please contact First State Bank in Athens at (903) 676-1900. You can visit the location at 130 East Corsicana Street in Athens.