Roby, TX School Bus and Truck Wreck, Dec 1978


Roby, Texas (UPI) - An oil field service truck loaded with radioactive materials rammed broadside into a school bus packed with members of the McCaulley High School boys' and girls' basketball teams on a rural highway Friday, ripping the bus apart and killing four students.
The Department of Public Safety said four members of the blue and gold McCaulley Eagles from the small, rural Panhandle high school were killed and a total of 22 persons were injured. The wreck occurred at a county intersection while the bus was enroute to Hermleigh, Texas, for a tournament.
Police said the radioactive chemicals in the truck did not leak out.
"I don't remember anything," said EARL WILLIAMS, a member of the McCaulley Eagles basketball team who was injured in the wreck. "I remember being hit, and then there was blood everywhere."
Another player who was not critically injured, TODD JEFFREY, said he was fortunate.
"Thank God I got out of there alive," he said.
Fisher County Sheriff Mickey Counts said it was the worst wreck he had worked in his seven years in law enforcement.
"They were thrown all over the inside of the bus," he said. "I don't see how any of them survived. The (number of dead) could have been a lot higher."
Many of those riding the bus were related as brother, sister or cousin, including five members of the JEFFREY family of McCaulley, located about 40 miles southwest of Abilene, and four members of the WILKERSON family.
The four dead were identified as RITA WILKERSON, 14; BRIT JEFFREY, 15; BONNIE PIPPIN, 17; and LOLITA PERALES, 17. All were described as high school sophomores and juniors.

Galveston Daily News Texas 1978-12-10