Ulises Rodriguez Montoya, 5, "loved his family, dinosaurs, the color green, and going to school."  -  Source: Canva/Hays Consolidated Independent School District

Ulises Rodriguez Montoya, 5, "loved his family, dinosaurs, the color green, and going to school."

Source: Canva/Hays Consolidated Independent School District

A pre-kindergarten student was one of two people killed in rural Texas when a concrete truck collided with a school bus 50 miles east of Austin.

The bus from Tom Green Elementary School, loaded with 44 students and 11 adults, was coming back from a field trip to a zoo March 22 when the truck veered into oncoming traffic and struck the school bus, rolling it.

The school bus lacked seat belts – one of 40 in the school district without belts. As of 2018, Texas requires three-point seat belts on school buses, but the requirement only applies if the state provides funds. As School Bus Fleet previously reported, when the state doesn’t fund seat belts, districts aren’t obligated to install them or ensure usage.

Austin-Travis County EMS provided mutual aid for the incident, responding with five ambulances, two commanders, three division chiefs, a medical director, a physician assistant, and the agency’s ambulance bus.

In a statement to the Hays Consolidated Independent School District, Superintendent Eric Wright told the community: “There are no words that can express my sorrow for the student’s family, the Tom Green Elementary School family, and our greater Hays CISD community.”

The child who died, 5-year-old Ulises Rodriguez Montoya, “loved his family, dinosaurs, the color green, and going to school,” according to a school district news release.

His pre-K bilingual teacher said: “Ulises was a child who was filled with a lot of happiness, and he often shared it with others. He had a talent for drawing and his favorite thing was to draw dinosaurs. He could almost completely spell the word ‘dinosaur,’ which demonstrates how smart he was. He always had a dinosaur drawn on all of the assignments he turned in. He liked to tell stories and shared many with his friends and family. Above all – he was a loving child.”

The other fatality in the accident was Ryan Wallace, a 33-year-old Ph.D. student at the University of Texas. He drove a Dodge Charger behind the school bus, and struck the back of the bus after the heavy truck collision.

The accident remains under investigation by the Texas Department of Public Safety. A GoFundMe has been set up for the child’s family.

About the author
Wes Platt

Wes Platt

Executive Editor

Wes Platt joined Bobit in 2021 as executive editor of School Bus Fleet Magazine. He writes and edits content about student transportation, school bus manufacturers and equipment, legislative issues, maintenance, fleet contracting, and school transportation technology - from classic yellow diesel buses to the latest EPA-funded electric, propane, and CNG vehicles.

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