EPISD, other districts explain travel policy following deadly crash that killed coach

Scene the bus crash that killed an Irvin High School coach and injured students. (KFOX14)

The El Paso Independent School District is now looking over best practices for its students when it comes to traveling, after a weekend crash that killed a high school coach.

The district said the crash that happened early Sunday was out of the its control.

A charter bus carrying 25 students and coaches back to El Paso from a track meet in Lubbock was involved in a head-on collision with a pickup truck. Irvin High School track coach Arcadio “Archie” Duran, 48, and the driver of the pickup truck were killed in the crash.

The practice of teams and athletes traveling overnight is not something new. But overnight travel is canceled when there is severe weather happening or if the event the students and staff are attending will end late.

The district said it would not under any circumstances let students and staff travel on dangerous roads. If an event ends too late, it is not uncommon for teams to stay in a hotel. Decisions are made on a case-by-case basis and the distance involved in each trip is considered.

In this particular incident, the charter bus began traveling back to El Paso around 6 p.m., the district said.

“And that’s a reasonable time. Certainly 6 o'clock is still a reasonable hour. There is still light out, especially right now, this time of year. It’s daylight until about 8 o'clock and there is still sunlight out,” Melissa Martinez, spokeswoman for the El Paso Independent School District, said.

The district is taking a closer look at traveling rules.

Other school districts explained their policies with the following statements:

Socorro Independent School District

The safety and security of students and staff is our number one priority. The tragic accident that occurred over the weekend absolutely caused us to review our practices. Currently, we are working with coaches/sponsors that will be traveling soon to coordinate travel times and the safest travel route. Each trip has its unique circumstances which will be reviewed on an individual basis, again keeping safety of our students and staff at the forefront of each decision.
Unfortunately, with El Paso being isolated from other major cities in the state our students and staff our subject to frequent travel for athletic, fine arts, and academic competitions as well as co-curricular activities. We look forward to working with our sister districts throughout the region to petition UIL to allow El Paso to host more events so that our students are not always the ones traveling.

Ysleta Independent School District

Our practices that students for the most part will return the night of the event. And what we do is that we have a driver that is halfway on the way home that beats the bus and we switch our drivers that way we have a fresh bus driver the whole time.

Canutillo Independent School District

Canutillo ISD is deeply saddened by this tragic accident and loss of a beloved educator. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family, friends, and co-workers of all involved. Superintendent Dr. Galaviz wants CISD to remember those affected by the loss of life and the tragedy that occurred and has released this statement, "At this moment, Canutillo ISD remains focused on the well-being of the EPISD family and our involved students".
In regards to our policy, the safety and security of our students and staff is always our number one priority. Our current travel policy and procedures are designed to provide safe and secure travel. However, we will review our practices, interview staff that coordinate travel and review safety measures in effect. Each trip has its unique circumstances which will be reviewed on an individual basis, again keeping the safety of our students and staff as a priority.
According to Superintendent Pedro Galaviz, Canutillo high school track Coach Ruben Galaviz was driving the van Saturday night. The superintendent allows the coaches to make the decison on when to drive back. If the coach is tired and feels they need to stay over they allow them to do so. When the team got to the scene, 6 students and Coach Galaviz assisted EPISD with jackets, shoes, blankets and to wait in their vehicle while medics arrived. In support of the EPISD and Irvin High School the district will wear Irvin High School colors.

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