Anabel Reid, 19-year-old sophomore environmental science major from Petersburg, was pronounced dead at the scene after an accident on U.S. Highway 83 near Ballinger involving a shuttle bus transporting 12 Department of Agriculture and Environmental Science students, three faculty members and a faculty spouse from ACU to Medina.
The one-vehicle accident occurred about nine miles south of Ballinger at about 3:20 p.m. on U.S. Highway 83 at CR 234. The bus was traveling southbound when it drifted off the highway into the right-hand ditch and hit a concrete culvert, said Trooper Shawn Baxter, an officer on the scene of the crash. The bus flipped end-over-end and landed facing south on its wheels with the body nearly removed from the frame.
The group was traveling to Medina Children’s Home for the department’s annual service project at the facility. This was the group’s seventh year to travel to Medina.
Emmett Miller, assistant professor of agriculture and environmental science, his wife, Pat Miller, and Dr. Jim Cooke, professor of agriculture and environmental science, were being treated at Shannon Medical Center. Pat Miller remains in critical condition, and Cooke and Emmett Miller have been released.
Michael Nicodemus, assistant professor of agriculture, who was driving the minibus at the time of the accident, was treated and released at Ballinger Memorial Hospital.
Being treated at Hendrick Medical Center is Tiffany Lutz, senior animal science major from Zelienople, Pa., who was moved to the intensive care unit and remained in critical condition. Merissa Ford, junior agribusiness major from Maple Valley, Wash., is listed as in fair condition. Anna Ciufo, freshman animal science major from The Woodlands, was flown from Shannon Memorial Hospital in San Angelo to Dallas’ Parkland Medical Center. Pat Miller, Anna Watson, sophomore animal science major from Kerrville, Kathleen Henderson, junior environmental science major from Rockport, and Kendra Unamba, sophomore nursing major from Midlothian, who is in stable condition, are being treated at Shannon. Allison Dorshorst, freshman environmental science major from Colleyville, is being treated at Community Hospital in San Angelo for a back injury. Also listed as being on the minibus at the time of the accident was Naomi Cruz, freshman animal science major from Richmond.
Students treated and released include Haley Wilkerson, sophomore animal science major from Ravenna, Amanda Wilson, junior animal science major from Walsenburg, Colo., and Jason Iris, senior environmental science major from Southhampton, Bermuda.
Dr. Phil Schubert, president of the university, and Dr. Gary McCaleb, vice president of the university, went to San Angelo to be with those being treated there. Suzanne Allmon, senior adviser to the president, and Kevin Roberts, chief planning officer, went to Ballinger Memorial Hospital to visit with those treated there. And Dr. Jean-Noel Thompson, vice president and dean for student life, was at Hendrick with the families of those treated there Friday night.
Schubert said that a tragedy of this magnitude brings tremendous grief and hurt; it pains the community deeply.
“We have a tight, incredible community at ACU. Every member of that community is important to us, and when something happens, like this, it’s hard,” Schubert said. “It will bring us together. It will cause us to encourage each other, to hold each other up and to appreciate the community we’ve got. We’ll be OK.”
Dr. Ed Brokaw, chair of the Department of Agriculture and Environmental Science, spent the evening with students and families at Shannon.
“It’s just devastating,” Brokaw said. “You can tell the impact it’s had by the number of people in this room.”
Chad Kelley, junior communications major from Ballinger, was on his way to San Antonio but detoured to Ballinger Memorial Hospital once he heard the news.
“It saddens me that there was an accident,” Kelley said. “It is devastating that parents had to be informed of their daughter’s death. She was part of our community, and we will cry together and become stronger.”
Reid is the 46th student to die while enrolled as an ACU student.