Football coach, and others, offered help to Texas crash victims

By Evan Ren
San Angelo Standard-Times

ABILEN, Texas — While heading south on U.S. 83 on Friday afternoon for a night game at Mason, the bus carrying the Winters football team came upon the scene of the Abilene Christian University bus crash less than five minutes after the accident.

While keeping his players on the bus, Winters coach Stephen Hermesmeyer said he and his assistant coaches offered what assistance they could for about 30 minutes until the first Department of Public Safety units arrived.

Hermesmeyer said he initially thought a horse trailer had overturned because the vehicle was so mangled.

Team trainer Jessica Cox stayed behind after the team bus continued its trip to Mason, he said. She assisted with the injured until paramedics reached the scene.

"We were about the third vehicle there," Hermesmeyer said. "We used our fire extinguisher on the bus engine and Jessica did an awesome job.

"We got all of our tape and towels out while she was administering help, and all of our coaches were helping, too. Obviously, it wasn't something we had planned on doing but that's what you have to do in that situation."

The team went on to lose what amounted to a district championship game in Mason. But in the aftermath of what would have normally been a heartbreaking loss, the life lessons were obvious.

"It really put life into perspective," Hermesmeyer said. "We were disappointed that we didn't win the district championship. But I told the kids after the game that we still won because we're still here.

"When you think of all the bus trips you make as a team, it really makes you think. ... That's definitely something I don't want to stumble upon again."

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