The ACU community grieves the tragic death of sophomore Anabel Reid, environmental science major from Petersburg, who passed away in the ACU shuttle bus accident Friday. The bus was en route to Medina Children’s Home on a mission trip with a group of students and faculty from the Department of Agriculture and Environmental Science.
The tragic crash sent 11 students, three faculty and one spouse to four different hospitals Friday afternoon and has induced a large amount of support on campus. Among those both grieving and comforting is Dr. Phil Schubert, president of the university.
“This community is tight-knit,” he said. “When we hurt as one, we hurt as all.”
Schubert released a video update Saturday to share the latest news and his personal thoughts. In the video he acknowledged how greatly the accident was impacting the ACU family.
“Our community is strong, but we are hurting,” Schubert said in the video. “Please continue to lift these families up in your prayers.”
Schubert went to visit the students taken to Shannon Memorial Hospital in San Angelo yesterday just after learning of the accident. He said the immediate response was part of the university’s crisis management plan.
“We have a team revolving around the different roles that need to be filled in times of crisis,” Schubert said. “There’s an immediate need for getting information out to all who are impacted by the accident and I think we did a good job of that. Now we’re deciding what would be the most appropriate step to take next.”
Dr. Gary McCaleb, vice president of the university, said the university had to have an emergency response ready as soon as news got out about the accident.
“We had to figure out what needed to be communicated and who needed to be contacted,” he said. “You’ve got to move quickly together because response time is very important.”
McCaleb said the accident is of concern to the entire university’s safety because so many groups and organizations on campus use busses for transportation.
“This was the sort of thing you hope never happens because you’ve got a larger number of students all in the same place,” McCaleb said. “That puts them in jeopardy.”
Hundreds of ACU students held a prayer vigil by candlelight at the amphitheater Friday night. Though he was unable to attend because he was still in San Angelo, Schubert said it was great to hear of the quick response from those concerned enough to offer support where it is needed.
“We’ve had an overwhelming from people around the world who are wanting to help and we want to provide an avenue for that to take place,” he said. “That response from outside campus combined with the reaction from students on campus, like with the prayer vigil, has been a great blessing.”
Schubert said Monday’s Chapel would be key in the healing process as students are grieving the loss of Reid.
“There will be reflection on God’s faithfulness in times of trial,” he said. “I think the healing process is a long one but it may be that Monday is a pretty big step in that direction.”