Skip to main content /US /US

Young survivor describes Texas bus crash

'I really feel God protected me'

bus crash
Monday's crash scene  

GARLAND, Texas (CNN) -- Kimber Ray said she was asleep Monday morning when the bus carrying her and dozens of other teen-agers to a church camp swerved out of control and slammed into a concrete bridge support on Interstate 20 about 30 miles east of Dallas.

Four teens were killed -- all members of the Metro Church in suburban Dallas -- along with the bus driver. The other passengers, 33 teens and two counselors, were taken to hospitals.

The impact of the crash was so strong that it peeled back the metal from the side of the bus.

Ray, 17, helped others on the bus until she had to be air-lifted to a hospital because she was having trouble breathing. She suffered cuts, bruises and a back injury.

"I really feel God protected me," she said. "I mean, I was so close to that pole. The girl behind me died. I really feel his hand was over me and watching me."

After the crash, Ray tried to reach her mother on her cellular phone but could not get through. So she called her boyfriend to tell him what happened.

"I kept asking her if she was OK. She was like, 'Yeah I'm OK, I'm OK,'" her boyfriend Jordan Barth said. "I wasn't sure if she was saying that not to get my heart pounding and really get me scared."

CNN's Sean Callebs profiles a survivor of the June 24 crash that killed 5 in a bus crash outside Dallas, Texas (June 25)

Play video
Gallery: Images from the crash scene 

The teens on the bus were part of a youth group at the 1,200-member church that met on Wednesday nights. They were going to a church camp at Louisiana Tech University in Ruston, about 250 miles from Garland.

"Metro is a very close body of believers," said Sean Burns, a church deacon. "You don't just go to church Sunday morning and that's it. These are friends, these are families."

Ray said most of the teens on the bus were longtime friends.

"It really wasn't affecting me until I got a chance to take a break, and then I just started reflecting on what I saw," Ray said. "You don't see that in movies, no matter how bad of a movie you're watching.

"I try not to think about the gory stuff, but, I mean, sometimes it does come back," she said. "I've just tried to focus on the positive, like how many people did make it."

A memorial service for the victims was scheduled Wednesday.

-- Correspondent Sean Callebs contributed to this report.


• 5 die in Texas bus crash
June 24, 2002



Back to the top