Truck driver was on just three hours sleep and used cocaine the morning he crashed into a school bus full of preschoolers in Texas, killing two people – including five-year-old boy


The truck driver that veered into a Texas school bus full of preschoolers and killed two people admitted that he used cocaine shortly before the crash. 

On March 22, a truck smashed into a bus that was carrying 44 pre-kindergarten students from Tom Green Elementary school who were returning from a field trip to the Capital of Texas Zoo.

The Texas Department of Public Safety said that the cement truck veered into the school bus just before a driver in a third vehicle – a Dodge Charger – crashed into the bus. 

The truck’s driver was 42-year-old Jerry Hernandez, who has since admitted that he smoked marijuana the night before the crash, got only around three hours of sleep and then woke up for work at 1am and did cocaine. 

Hernandez confessed to consuming the illicit drug when he was rushed to hospital after the deadly crash that killed two. 

The truck driver that veered into a Texas school bus full of preschoolers and killed two people admitted that he used cocaine shortly before the crash

Ulises Rodriguez Montoya, 5, died from injuries sustained Friday after the school bus he was on was struck by a concrete truck that swerved into the bus's lane

Ulises Rodriguez Montoya, 5, died from injuries sustained Friday after the school bus he was on was struck by a concrete truck that swerved into the bus’s lane

Ulises Rodriguez Montoya was remembered as a happy child who loved dinosaurs and often shared his joy with others

Ulises Rodriguez Montoya was remembered as a happy child who loved dinosaurs and often shared his joy with others

Five-year-old Ulises Rodriguez Montoya, who was a preschooler on board, was one of the two people that tragically died in the horrific crash. 

Community members described Montoya as a ‘child who was filled with a lot of happiness,’ which he ‘often shared with others,’ according to Naira (Dina) Solís Shears, his pre-K bilingual teacher.

‘He had a talent for drawing and his favorite thing to draw was dinosaurs. He could almost completely spell the word dinosaur, which demonstrates how smart he was.

‘He always had a dinosaur drawn on all of the assignments he turned in. He liked to tell stories and shared many with his friends and family. Above all – he was a loving child,’ she said.

Montoya is survived by his immediate and extended family, including his parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins – all of whom will miss him. 

The adult male driver of the Charger also died.

Shocking dashcam footage since released by the school district shows the terrifying moment that the truck hurtles towards the bus – causing it to roll over itself and crumble into rubble. 

Court documents revealed that Hernandez crossed double yellow lines into the path of the bus, which swerved to avoid the vehicle. 

Troopers testified in the documents that there was enough evidence to pursue criminal charges against Hernandez.

The crash is still under investigation. 

A Texas Department of Public Safety trooper inspects the scene of the fatal school bus crash

A Texas Department of Public Safety trooper inspects the scene of the fatal school bus crash

A pre-Ke-er is taken from the scene of the crash by an emergency responder

A pre-Ke-er is taken from the scene of the crash by an emergency responder

Families reunite with their children at Tom Green Elementary in Buda, Texas, after pre-K students from the school were involved in a bus roll-over crash on Texas State Highway 21 near Caldwell Road on Friday, March 22, 2024, in Bastrop, Texas

Families reunite with their children at Tom Green Elementary in Buda, Texas, after pre-K students from the school were involved in a bus roll-over crash on Texas State Highway 21 near Caldwell Road on Friday, March 22, 2024, in Bastrop, Texas

Classes at Tom Green, which is part of the Hays Consolidated Independent School District, were canceled Monday - though the building was open for those in search of counseling

Classes at Tom Green, which is part of the Hays Consolidated Independent School District, were canceled Monday – though the building was open for those in search of counseling

A little girl is transported from a fatal school bus crash on Texas State Highway 21 near Caldwell Road on Friday

A little girl is transported from a fatal school bus crash on Texas State Highway 21 near Caldwell Road on Friday

 Classes at Tom Green, which is part of the Hays Consolidated Independent School District, were canceled Monday – though the building was open for those in search of counseling.

According to recent reports, plans for the little boy’s funeral and memorial service are still pending.

A GoFundMe launched by Ulises’ aunt has raised more than $60,000 that will go toward funeral, burial, and other unforeseen expenses the family must now stomach.

The school bus carrying the young students reportedly did not have seatbelts, because it was manufactured in 2011, before the state of Texas mandated the safety feature aboard such vehicles. 

Following the crash on Friday, scores of other children were also transported to local hospitals.

According to a statement from Tom Green Elementary, 51 others were also injured.

A GoFundMe launched by the elementary school’s leadership team has raised close to $78,000 for the devastated community. Of Sunday evening, two students and two school district employees remained hospitalized.

The crash occurred on Texas State Highway 21, about an hour away from the school’s Buda location.



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