12 involved in church bus wreck

Responders act at the scene of the two-vehicle wreck // Emergency Management photo
Amanda Corbin
News Reporter

A two-vehicle wreck involving a church bus sent a multitude of people to the hospital — included a large number of children — after colliding at State Highway 83 and Morris Creek Road south of Poteau around 7 p.m. Wednesday evening.

Oklahoma Highway Patrol listed the cause of the wreck as the van failing to yield from a stop sign as it turned left from Morris Creek Road and onto the highway. A 2012 Ford Focus headed eastbound on the highway struck the van and both vehicles went into the ditch.

The Poteau First Baptist church bus — a 2007 Chevrolet — was driven by Aurora Baeza De Aguilar, 53, of Poteau. De Aguilar was taken by LeFlore County EMS to Eastern Oklahoma Medical Center in Poteau, treated and released.

The bus had nine passengers, including a large number of children — a 12-year-old from Poteau and 1-year-old, 7-year-old , 8-year-old, 10-year-old and 11-year-old from Heavener. The children were treated and released from EOMC except for the 7-year-old Heavener girl, who was transported out to St. Francis Hospital in Tulsa and admitted in serious but stable condition.

Adult passengers included Felicita Garcia, 43, Mayra Garcia, 18, and Eluteria Garcia, 38, all of Heavener. They were treated and released from the hospital.

The driver of the Ford Focus, 61-year-old Caren F. Edwards of Poteau, was taken by EMS to EOMC, then transferred to Mercy Hospital in Fort Smith, Ark., and listed in stable condition with multiple injuries. Her passenger, 63-year-old Ronald Edwards of Poteau, also was taken to EOMC then transferred to Mercy and listed in stable condition with multiple injuries.

OHP listed the cause of failure to yield at a stop sign. Seat belts were equipped and in use by the driver of the bus and by both occupants of the Ford Focus. A child restraint system also was in use on the 1-year-old female child in the bus. OHP said the weather was rainy and the roadway wet at the time of the wreck.

Trooper Kyle Ward investigated with assistance from Trooper Matthew Dyer, Trooper Ty Wallace. Also assisting were LeFlore County Sheriff's Office, LeFlore County Emergency Management, LeFlore County EMS and Monroe, Howe and Poteau fire departments.