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Two teens die in school bus crash

14-year-old Janecia Chatman, left, and 17-year-old Mariya Johnson, right, died last Tuesday morning on their way to Furr High School when their school bus was hit and flew off the 610 South Loop.
14-year-old Janecia Chatman, left, and 17-year-old Mariya Johnson, right, died last Tuesday morning on their way to Furr High School when their school bus was hit and flew off the 610 South Loop.

Students were on the way to Furr High School

HOUSTON – Two young girls are dead, and two other students and the bus driver are recovering after a tragic accident on the South Loop eastbound Tuesday morning.

At about 7 a.m. in the morning, the Houston ISD bus was taking four students to Furr High School, when it was struct on the left side by a car that entered its lane after trying to avoid a third car that was encroaching on it from the left, also.

The bus veered to the right, and hit a guard rail on an overpass, went through it, and plunged about 20 feet to Telephone Road below. The bus landed on its roof, crushing the side and roof so that emergency exits were necessary to remove the injured passengers.

The Houston ISD school bus was eastbound on the South Loop, when a car beside it pulled quickly into its lane, causing the bus to swerve to the right, hit the guard rail, and plummet to the frontage road below.
The Houston ISD school bus was eastbound on the South Loop, when a car beside it pulled quickly into its lane, causing the bus to swerve to the right, hit the guard rail, and plummet to the frontage road below.

17 year old Mariya Johnson died at the scene, and 14 year old Janecia Chatman died at the hospital. Johnson was a Reach Charter School student, which is at Furr. Chatman was a freshman at Furr.

Recovering at Texas Childrens Hospital are twins Brandon and Lakeisha Williams, students at Reach.

The bus was equipped with seat belts, but it is not known if they were used. The bus driver is Luisa Pacheco, a driver for the last 3 years for HISD, with a clean driving record. She is recovering at Ben Taub hospital.

No charges were filed to date for the accident. Also being investigated is the guard rail, which reportedly did not meet current TxDOT standards.

A memorial at the site, and at Furr High School, were established, as well as a small memorial service on Wednesday. In addition, grief counselors were present at the school on Tuesday and Wednesday, as the students coped.

The scope of the tragedy was emphasized by Furr principal Bertie Simmons, who said that she had received calls of condolence from all over the nation.