Students were shocked when news broke on campus that students and faculty were involved in a bus accident this afternoon.
A total of 16 ACU-affiliated passengers, including students, faculty and the spouse of a faculty member, were on their way to Medina Children’s Home for a service project when their 24-passenger bus rolled off the highway, striking a ditch and a culvert. So far, only one fatality has been reported; however, many others have been taken to area hospitals via helicopter.
Laura Jane Hood, sophomore youth and family ministry and psychology major from Tennessee, was watching television when she heard the news.
“It took a minute to sink in, and then it’s just this feeling of shock and horror,” Hood said. “Knowing that your friends, these people that have become your family, are injured and it’s just…there aren’t any words for it. I feel like we’re all just sitting here holding our breath praying that the person who is dead is someone that we’re not close to.”
Soon after, Hood was notified by her church’s campus minister that one of their students had been involved in the accident and was being transported to a nearby hospital. They soon went to meet her.
“Them immediately going to see her says to me that the IGNITE campus ministry has the same spirit of family that this whole campus does,” she said. “When one of us is hurt, when one of us is scared, we just drive. I’m glad that I’m part of a community where we check on one another without thinking about it, and I think the rest of the student body is glad they’re a part of that kind of community, too.”
Former agriculture major Angelina Deitmen, from Tenn., attended the same service project in Medina a year ago.
“When I was there last year, we worked for the children’s home,” Deitmen said. “We even went as far as making homecoming mums for some of the children there. Anywhere there was a need, we helped.”
Now that she has heard the news, her memories of the trip are tainted.
“I’m heartbroken. I remember the crazy good memories I had on the trip, and they’ve just been replaced by this horrible image of a bus flipping through the air,” she said.
Hundreds of miles away, Deitmen wants her colleagues to know the department, their family and friends are in her thoughts.
“I just want them to know that I love them and I’m praying for them,” she said. “I’ve always had nothing but respect for those professors. I just feel horrible that they had to go through that and be a part of that.”
Once news caught around, students started posting on Facebook and Twitter. President Dr. Phil Schubert sent an email reaching out to the ACU community.
“Please keep them in your prayers,” stated the email. “ACU representatives are en route to area hospitals to assist. We are confirming information with officials on site and will share it with you as we learn.”
He also advised the ACU community to visit the university’s emergency blog, emergency.acu.edu, for live updates.
A prayer vigil will be take place for those involved in the wreck Friday at 9 p.m. at the Beauchamp Amphitheater.